The Industrial Internet provides a rare glimpse at the military-civil fusion component of Digital China. 

The PRC Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) just published the “2022 Work Plan for the Industrial Internet Special Working Group.” The MIIT work plan is here, but Securities Times provides a nice summary here, or even easier, here’s the whole plan laid out on a single MIIT graphic.

You’ll note the plan is extensive, far too much to cover right now in detail (a future project). Instead, here are a few general points on both China’s industrial internet and the 2022 Work Plan (with more to come on both later):

->The Industrial Internet is a big deal for Beijing. The industrial internet has been a centrally directed focal point of Digital China since the Fifth Plenum of the 19th Party Congress in October 2020, reflected in the MIIT follow-on Action Plan for the Innovative Development of the Industrial Internet in December 2020. There’s a reason it’s a big deal. The industrial internet is a New Type Infrastructure subcategory deemed critical to the digital transformation of Chinese industry and manufacturing and to the development of China’s digital economy, one of Digital China’s five “ways.” In short, Beijing see a successful industrial internet as essential to China’s future economic development and competitive trajectory.

->The 2022 Industrial Internet Work Plan is just the latest in several years of cascading central direction. Most recently, the 2022 Work Plan responds to direction in this year’s Government Work Report to “accelerate development of an industrial internet.” This acceleration is designed to both “promote development of the digital economy” and “strengthen the overall layout of Digital China construction.” To give a sense of the scope of the 2022 Work Plan, in just the area of infrastructure, it calls for upgrading the intranets of participating enterprises to 5G+ and accelerating the construction of enterprise extranets. Also, multi-level platforms will be constructed, and industrial internet public service platforms will be “nurtured” in about 10 regions. Finally, regional sub-centers of the National Industrial Internet Big Data Center will be “basically completed” in locations including Chongqing city, Shandong province, Zhejiang province, Liaoning province, Jiangsu province, and Guangdong province.

->The Industrial Internet provides a rare glimpse at the military-civil fusion component of Digital China.  Although the military-civil fusion component of Digital China was highlighted in state-run media and official documents up to 2016, since that time discussion has all but vanished. Glimpses do still appear, and there’s one today. One member of the Industrial Internet’s Special Working Group is the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND). Linked to China’s Military-Civil Fusion Development Strategy, SASTIND is a civilian agency that funds commercial and academic research in support of PLA requirements.  See the featured image that leads this blog. It is a cut-out from the MIIT graphic referenced in the first paragraph, showing the members of the Industrial Internet Special Working Group. The red arrow (added by me) points to SASTIND.