Former Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel (left) and the Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology MIAO Wei (right)

Former Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel (left) and the Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology MIAO Wei (right)

© BMWi/Maurice Weiss

The federal German government has agreed on intensive cooperation with China in the area of Industrie 4.0, with the aim of intensifying their mutual understanding and enhancing collaboration. In terms of content, the collaboration will concentrate mainly on the development of harmonised standards. Enterprises from both countries will also be supported in possible pilot projects and in education and training in the field of Industrie 4.0.

To these ends, two German-Chinese memoranda of understanding have been adopted. The first, between the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on 15 July 2015; and the second as a joint letter of intent between the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) on 19 January 2016. Moreover, a sub-working group on standardisation in the area of Industrie 4.0, as part of the German-Chinese Commission for Collaboration on Standardisation (DCKN) led by the BMWi and the State Agency for Standardisation of the People's Republic of China (SAC), has also been set up.

As for the political flanking of this cooperation, the German-Chinese working group 'Enterprises for Intelligent Manufacturing and Connectivity of Production Processes' (AGU) was established in Peking at an inaugural event on 18 October 2016. Here, German and Chinese participants can enter into a direct cross-sectoral exchange, identifying challenges in their business activities and formulating proposals for the improvement of the framework conditions, thus underpinning the political dialogue. Alongside representatives from the economy, experts from science have also been invited to participate and discuss. So far, there have been subject-specific discussions on 'data security', 'intellectual property rights' and 'demonstration projects'. These topic areas are being further developed and expanded to cater to the requirements of industry. On the German side, the AGU is organised by the German-Chinese Industrie 4.0 Project; on the Chinese side it receives support from the China Center for Information Industry Development (CCID).

In the context of the collaboration, cooperation projects between enterprises and research institutions are being supported and made visible to the general public and to enterprises in both countries. As examples of German-Chinese cooperation in the field of Industrie 4.0 and intelligent manufacturing, they serve as a point of practical reference, showing how enterprises from various different sectors cope with challenges in the Industrie 4.0 environment and work out common solutions. In a first step, a total of 14 German-Chinese cooperation projects were selected by the MIIT in July 2016. Building on that, the German-Chinese Industrie 4.0 Project has also identified four other cooperation projects.