What drove technological innovation in ancient China

China is the new high-tech power

Javier Garcia, President Asia-Pacific at Lectra, reports in an interview on the trends in the Chinese market and the great potential for technological innovations.

China has rapidly advanced the digitization of companies. In your opinion, what are the success factors?

Javier Garcia (JG): If you look back a few years, China was a low-wage country that used low labor costs and an abundant workforce as pillars of its economic strategy. That has changed radically in the past five to ten years, with rising wage costs and the labor shortage there too. Today, the Chinese industry relies on digitization and high-tech solutions in the production area in many areas, such as in the fashion and clothing industry, in the furniture and automotive industries. With the “Made in China 2025” initiative and a number of other funding programs and financial incentives, the government in China is strongly advancing the modernization of industry and thus the degree of automation and digitization of manufacturing processes. In the automotive market, the development of the industry behaved somewhat differently, as this is fairly new in China. Most of the automobile factories were only built in the past few years, and so technologically high-performance manufacturing plants were created. This means that there are no legacy issues when it comes to non-digital or non-automated solutions.

What are the market conditions like in China?

JG: The mindset and mentality of customers in China are very different compared to how we know them from other countries. There is huge market potential in the areas in which Lectra operates as most companies are looking for the best new technology and solutions. They are constantly striving to optimize their processes even further and have no reservations about new technologies. This holds many opportunities for companies like Lectra and we can support and influence changes in the industries with our experience and new innovations.

How do the needs of companies and managers in China differ from customers, for example in Europe or America?

JG: The main difference is in the speed. You can say that Chinese managers make decisions about ten times faster than managers in North America or Europe. The whole thing is being accelerated by the government with its strong focus on digital transformation. Let me give you an example: A few years ago Lectra introduced a new solution for laser cutting airbags, FocusQuantum. While companies in North America and Western Europe validate for one or more years, a Chinese company has already decided to buy before the official market launch.

What trends do you see in China in the various industries?

JG: The degree of automation and digitization in the Chinese fashion and clothing industry has increased dramatically in recent years. Not only top companies operate here, but also the majority of the market in a high-tech environment. It is exciting to see how quickly the market and thus the demand in China change. Today, solutions for high volumes are no longer the most sold systems, but technologies for managing personalized and individualized products in order to manufacture tailor-made high-end clothing.

The furniture industry has been slowest compared to the apparel and automotive industries to incorporate digital technologies into the manufacturing process. In addition to the growth potential for digital cutting, we are currently seeing great interest in digitized product development processes, as the trend towards individualization is also finding its way into furniture production. In addition, companies invest in processes for better design and higher quality materials, as this is playing an increasingly important role for the customer. The new trend in car interiors is to cover the entire car interior with fabric or leather in addition to the seats, such as doors, cockpits or center consoles. For example, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, the world's largest supplier of automotive interiors, relies on the Vector iX6 automatic cutting solution from Lectra in order to meet the growing demand for personalization and to actively help shape the mobility of tomorrow .

Thank you for the interview.

Peter Schatz asked the questions.