China’s Internet of Things (IoT) industry has seen its output value exceed RMB 930 billion ($142 billion) in 2016, up from RMB 170 billion in 2009, according to the vice minister for Industry and Information Technology.

IoT is the concept of linking more everyday items and appliances, wearable devices and vehicles as well as industrial equipment to each other and the internet via sensors and data exchange.

China’s IoT sector is growing fast, with a compound annual growth rate of over 25%, said the vice minister, Luo Wen, at the World Internet of Things Exposition in Wuxi, near Shanghai.

Luo said that the huge domestic market, the country’s complete industrial chain and the world’s biggest mobile telecommunications network could see China taking the lead in certain sub-sectors of IoT technology; especially given the government support being planned. 

Luo said that not only will a number of technological centers and laboratories be established to develop the technology in general, it will also be pushed into more fields including agriculture, healthcare, environmental protection and logistics.

China will work hard to engage in establishing international standards for how devices communicate, said Wang Zhigang, vice minister of science and technology.

Such participation could pay off. The application of IoT is growing rapidly as it is embedded in more and more devices. A research report by the Boston Consulting Group released earlier in the year estimated that B2B spending on IoT technologies, apps and solutions will reach $267 billion by 2020. IHS reported that in 2015 there were about 15.4 billion connected devices and this number will grow to 30.7 billion by 2020, and 75.4 billion by 2025. Intel is expecting even greater things and has forecast that by 2020, clearly a real watershed year for IoT, there will be 200 billion connected devices—almost three devices per person by then.

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...

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