Dec, 07 2018 20:00 JST

Source: HKTDC

SmartBiz Expo and Franchising Show Close Today

Expo Focuses on Opportunities Presented by Industry 4.0

HONG KONG, Dec, 07 2018 - (ACN Newswire) - The second edition of the HKTDC SmartBiz Expo and the fourth HKTDC Hong Kong International Franchising Show, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), both concluded today. One of main themes at the expo this year was Industry 4.0, with a seminar titled "Industry 4.0 - Golden Opportunities and Challenges" held on 5 Dec. Experts and industry professionals were invited to examine the latest Industry 4.0 developments, technology applications and local success cases for the benefit of small to medium-size enterprises (SMEs).

Industry 4.0 Applications Begin to Diversify

Starting the discussion at the seminar was Lyan Law, Lead Consultant, Industry 4.0 of the Hong Kong Productivity Council, who shared some of Hong Kong's experiences and achievements in promoting the development of Industry 4.0 over the past few years. Mr Law said: "Two to three years ago, people were still not familiar with Industry 4.0. They knew only about the Internet and smart manufacturing. Later, people started thinking about automation and robotics, but today there is a general understanding that Industry 4.0 is about much more than automation; it also involves the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data, and all of these technological applications are interrelated."

Smart Data Analytics are Key

The idea for Industry 4.0 originated in Germany. Benny Drescher, Head of Business Development Asia Pacific, INC Invention Center of Germany's The Hatch, shared some Industry 4.0 examples from around the world, stressing that "data is an important resource". Mr Drescher pointed out that the number of IoT-related devices and parts around the world already exceeds 40 billion - with the number expected to surpass 50 billion by 2020. These devices will be generating massive amounts of data, as will the many sensors used in cars and the wearables that people use in their daily lives, such as mobile phones and watches. At the same time, manufacturing processes and procedures are also generating data. Mr Drescher said that without suitable data analytics technology, this sea of data would have no value, which is why smart data analytics will be crucial to the promotion of Industry 4.0.

He added that, during logistical and manufacturing processes, smart data analytics can greatly enhance the efficiency of the entire manufacturing industry. "Having real-time messaging can facilitate real-time decision-making. It can reduce waste, predict maintenance needs, detect potential security problems, monitor product defects and omissions, and forecast manpower needs."

He cited the example of how UPS, the American courier, leveraged smart data analytics to find the best delivery routes. This has shortened the company's delivery distances by 364 million miles and saved the company US$50 million in fuel costs since it was introduced. Smart data analytics can also help companies to formulate business strategies. Using Kroger, the well-known American retail group, as an example, Mr Drescher said the company used big data to examine the consumption behaviour of its customers and successfully launched a loyalty programme to boost sales.

He added that The Hatch is cooperating with the Hong Kong Productivity Council to provide training, assessment, professional advisory and expert-matching services to Hong Kong's enterprises to help them become world-class innovators.

Hong Kong Enterprises Stay Up to Speed

Sharing the reason why his company decided to implement Industry 4.0, and its experience in going through the transition, Henry Kwan, Innovation Development Assistant Manager of Trio Engineering Company Limited, said that many Hong Kong enterprises are realising that they cannot afford to carry on doing business as they did in the past. During its 30 years of operation, Trio Engineering has gradually moved from manufacturing simple electronic products and circuit boards to producing power generation-related products and security equipment. At the same time, it has recognised that clients are becoming increasingly demanding and are expecting instantaneous feedback and a shorter lead-time. Competition is also intensifying with more factories heading towards smart manufacturing. "Germany has Industry 4.0; China has 'Made in China 2025'. We must follow the trends and evolve," Mr Kwan said.

He added that, in promoting Industry 4.0, companies must implement the concept fully throughout the organisation and not just use it as an empty slogan. There must also be consensus around the details of its implementation. "Whether it is a top-down or bottom-up approach, the process will involve changing a company's culture and management style. As such, it is best that clear communication be established beforehand."

He stressed that there will be challenges along the way. The key is to maintain good internal communication and get staff buy-in on issues such as the direction being taken, investments in hardware and software, adjustments that need to be made based on feasibility, and picking the right time to put plans into action.

Business Opportunities in Smart City, E-Commerce and Franchising

This year's SmartBiz Expo featured more than 520 exhibitors from 40 countries and regions, offering a variety of business solutions and innovative business ideas. In addition to Industry 4.0, smart city development and e-commerce were the other key topics spotlighted at the expo, with the HKTDC organising a series of seminars to help SMEs enhance their understanding on all the issues.

Held in parallel with the expo was the Hong Kong International Franchising Show. This year, more than 130 exhibitors from 13 countries and regions took part in the show. There were four key zones, including the Hong Kong Food and Beverage zone, the Hong Kong Non-Food and Beverage zone, the Chinese Mainland zone and the International zone, showcasing franchising opportunities across different industries.

Concurrent Events Help Develop New Business Areas

The HKTDC is holding five events at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this week - the Asian E-tailing Summit (5 Dec), the HKTDC SmartBiz Expo (5-7 Dec), the HKTDC Hong Kong International Franchising Show (5-7 Dec), the Business of IP Asia Forum (6-7 Dec) and DesignInspire (6-8 Dec). These events focus on new technology and cover various stages of the value chain, including research and development, design, production, sales and marketing. They aim to help SMEs enhance their competitiveness and cost-effectiveness and develop new business areas and markets to adapt to the ever-changing economic landscape.

Fair websites:
HKTDC SmartBiz Expo:
HKTDC Hong Kong International Franchising Show:
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Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body dedicated to creating opportunities for Hong Kong's businesses. With 50 offices globally, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China, Asia and the world. With more than 50 years of experience, the HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to provide companies, particularly SMEs, with business opportunities on the mainland and in international markets, while providing business insights and information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels including the media room. For more information, please visit: Follow us on Google+, [email protected], LinkedIn.

Billy Ng, Tel: +852 2584 4393, Email: [email protected]
Source: HKTDC
Sectors: Trade Shows, Retail/eCommerce, Digital, IoT, Transport

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At "Industry 4.0 - Golden Opportunities and Challenges", a seminar held on the first day of the HKTDC SmartBiz Expo, experts and industry professionals examine the latest Industry 4.0 developments, technology applications and success stories.