Osborne Clarke sheds light on Asian IoT

By Dr David Cowan

12 April 2019 at 06:30 BST

Asian manufacturing & logistics sectors powering ahead with adoption of internet of things, with government and regulatory help playing key role.


A new report reveals the readiness of Asian manufacturers and supply chain enterprises in the adoption of innovation in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how businesses plan to solve market-specific challenges such as cybersecurity and data protection.

Strategy reboot

Osborne Clarke commissioned the report in association with Conventus Law, entitled ‘How will IIoT transform industry in Asia?’, offering a number of key findings. Major Asian markets have moved on from a “R&D in US or Europe, make in Asia” mentality as indigenous innovation is being derived from R&D facilities that rival those of other leading nations. China’s shift from being predominantly a manufacturing base to a centre of innovation, means US and European companies may need to rethink their business strategies. Companies that don’t opt to enter the IIoT race run the risk of being left behind, and could vanish altogether. Components of IoT like AI, robotics, data and M2M technologies are bringing about myriad new or untested legal and regulatory issues that companies need to keep top of mind if they are to move forward in this space. Adrian Bott, from Osborne Clarke’s Hong Kong office, commented “Much of Asia’s success has come from its manufacturing might, but as new manufacturing hubs emerge around the world, Asian economies must innovate if they’re to stay ahead. Developments in IIoT provide enormous opportunities for automation, smart manufacturing and predictive asset management, giving a significant boost to efficiency and output of traditional manufacturing processes.”

Government & regulatory support

The report outlines how four of the region’s leading economies - China, Hong Kong, India and Singapore - are experimenting and innovating with IIoT for manufacturing, logistics and supply chains. The report also discusses how governmental support and regulation has been integral to this shift towards greater automation. Mr Bott said, “Many Asian businesses are leading the way in putting these technologies into practice, supported by governments that are committed to making their mark on a global scale and regions like China and Singapore are already proving to be centres of innovation in their own right.” In addition to the report, Osborne Clarke and Conventus Law surveyed 40 key business leaders operating in Asian markets in manufacturing, manufacturing services, logistics and supply chain related companies and found that 62.5 per cent had already implemented and are looking to expand the use of IIoT in their business. Among those questioned, Mainland China (72.5 per cent) and Hong Kong (60 per cent) were the key markets where companies are planning to or are already using IIoT technologies. While 82 per cent cited the cost of labour and production as the major factor driving the adoption of IIoT, cyber-security exposure (92.5 per cent) and data protection (92.5 per cent) were listed as the key challenges in implementing the technologies.

Key markets

In China, the government initiative, ‘Made in China 2025’, provides high-tech industries such as robotics and AI, with subsidies, low-interest loans, rent-free land and tax breaks. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has also been central to China’s tech evolution by helping the country to shift away from a reliance on heavy industry towards demand-driven growth. E-commerce giants are also helping to push their suppliers up the development curve. Singapore is also investing heavily in IIoT, thanks to the country’s Smart Nation strategy, with the government introducing open IIoT standards and pushing for greater regulatory knowledge within the space. Meanwhile Hong Kong is seemingly positioning itself as the R&D hub for Southern China. Finally, in India, the IIoT revolution is being driven particularly by the logistics sector, thanks to a government decision to remove state-level taxes on goods, clearing the way for warehouse operators to streamline and consolidate their storage solutions.

The report can be found here.


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