The world is slowly returning to normal in places where the Covid pandemic is under control. A clear sign of that is the comeback of offline events. At NGP Capital, we just organized our first event for a live audience in a very long time. But we kept it small scale to stay on the safe side.
The 5G Spark – 5G Powering Digital Industry event in Shanghai brought together more than 100 leading entrepreneurs, experts, scholars, and investors to explore ways to foster cross-border innovation in 5G, how to enrich industrial applications that run on 5G and develop new technologies and new digital industries powered by 5G. The event, which was the first in a series of 5G Spark events, was initiated and organized by us and co-sponsored by Nokia China, Yimei Capital and GSMA. It was also supported by the Shanghai Economic and Information Commission and the Minhang District of Shanghai.
Mr. Bin Wu, the Deputy Director of Minhang District, Shanghai, delivered the opening remarks. Minhang, as the leading district of Shanghai, is actively fostering the venture capital industry to mobilize funding that promotes innovation and modernizes the manufacturing industry. According to Mr. Wu, "China's 5G development has generated a huge and profound impact on the global 5G industry."
Next up, David Tang, delivered the opening remarks by NGP Capital about our latest investment activity in 5G and China’s role in the global 5G market.
"China is becoming the largest 5G market in the world. By 2035, 40% of the value generated by 5G globally will be coming from China, and China will become one of the biggest beneficiaries of this new wave of the technology revolution. We hope that this event and future events in the 5G Spark series will help to build an in-depth communications platform that enables all partners to tap into the 5G value chain."
Markus Borchert, CEO of Nokia Shanghai Bell and President of Nokia Greater China, then delivered the keynote speech about how Nokia is powering digital industries with critical networks. He pointed out that enterprises are accelerating their digital transformation pace globally. 70% of businesses worldwide plan to invest in 5G digitalization in the coming 5 years. Nokia, with the broadest and strongest patent portfolio in the industry, is committed to leading this critical network evolution in three waves, focusing on: 1) current system performance, 2) software agility, and 3) "network-as-a-service.”
Pasi Hellman, the Consul General of Finland in Shanghai, then shared the role that Finland, as one of the most dynamic innovation economies in the world, is playing in 5G and the innovation industry. Finland launched the world's first research project in 6G in 2018, with Nokia Bell Labs, the University of Oulu, Aalto University and VTT. The aim is to launch the next-generation mobile network by 2030. Hellman believes that there is huge potential for in-depth cooperation between China and Finland in the field of 5G and 6G.
The first panel discussion was a deep dive into digitizing industries. The discussion was hosted by Qing Ye, Managing Partner of Yimei Capital. The guests included Xiaoguang Sun, Venture Partner & Head of VC China, Bosch (Shanghai) Venture Capital; Zhe Xiao, Co-Founder of Black Lake; Changyu Xiang, CEO of Bolean; and Lei Zhu, CEO of GT AI. All of the participants agreed that the biggest 5G applications in the future should happen in the industrial sector, which will create values in the trillions. They indicated that this is not just a dream for the future, but a reality being developed step-by-step now. They detailed how 5G, as the "new engine of the digital economy," will provide key support for initiatives such as "Made in China 2025" and "Industry 4.0."
Rong Letian, CMO of Shenzhen Ai-Link, shared his views about how 5G and Edge Cloud enables the digitalization of industries. Ai-Link focuses on 5G and Edge-based intelligent services, providing application solutions to leading enterprises in many industries, including building materials, coal mining, 3C (computers, communications, and consumer electronics), automobile manufacturing, electric power, and more. Rong believes that 80% of the 5G use cases should come from the industry. He pointed out that cloud computing and 5G are regarded by the manufacturing industry as the top 2 most critical technologies for digital transformation.
Cheng Yi, CEO of Shanghai H Visions delivered a talk about 5G technology and digital transformation trends. As a local enterprise of Minhang district, H Visions primarily provides digital information services for the manufacturing industry. Their solutions have been successfully deployed in the SAIC passenger car manufacturing base in Ningde, the smart water system of Capital Co., and the industrial internet innovation and development project of MII. Cheng believes that 5G and Edge computing technology are the keys to industrial transformation and upgrading.
Tong Zhao, CEO of SENSORO Technology, gave a speech entitled "Urban Search Engine". SENSORO IoT solutions help create smart cities, connecting the physical and digital worlds across urban infrastructures, such as water systems, electricity, coal, gas, and firefighting. Application scenarios include people, vehicles, transportation, location, medical treatment, meteorology, geology, environment, and more. Zhao shared several successful examples where SENSORO is playing a significant role in smart communities, water affairs, transportation, firefighting, and emergency services.
The second panel discussion, moderated by Dylan Jiang, VP of NGP Capital, focused on 5G and robotics. Qingbo Xu, Chairman and GM of Suray Technology; Nick Hu, Deputy Director of GLP Hidden Hill Capital; Huachen Lu, Head of Business Operation & Development, Global Enterprise Network Business, Nokia; and Xin Wu, Senior Technology Expert, XG Laboratory of Alibaba Damo Institute participated on the panel. The panelists discussed how, with the assistance of 5G technology, robotics will grow to be widely used, especially in the logistics and warehousing industries. Automation is in high demand in these industries, and is, without doubt, the future trend. The panelists believe, through the integration of the cloud and the internet, the large-scale deployment of robotics, in these industries will grow rapidly.
"5G Spark – 5G Powering Digital Industry" is the first in a series of 5G Spark events, which will be held regularly in Shanghai. Each event will focus on a different theme relating to the 5G field, with the event format varying, depending on the topic. The goal of the 5G Spark series is to find ways to foster the 5G ecosystem, building an in-depth communications platform that enables all participants to better leverage the 5G value chain.