Siemens and China’s Alibaba team up on industrial IoT

Siemens and China’s Alibaba team up on industrial IoT

NEWSBYTE German industrial giant Siemens has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Chinese IT, ecommerce, and AI conglomerate Alibaba Group, to build an industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) network in China.

The MoU was signed in the presence of German chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese premier Li Keqiang during the latter’s official visit to Germany. Under the agreement, both companies will share technologies and begin collaborating immediately.

The deal sees Siemens gain a major foothold in the Chinese IoT market for its MindSphere cloud platform and IoT operating system, which delivers a wide range of device and enterprise connectivity options, applications, and analytics services.

MindSphere, which was previously only available through Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, will be released on Alibaba Cloud in 2019. In return, Alibaba gains the ability to offer services to companies in China that wish to develop connected industrial processes.

Landmark IoT deal

Joe Kaeser, president and CEO of Siemens AG, said that the two companies’ cooperation represents a “landmark deal for bringing Industry 4.0 solutions to China as the world’s powerhouse of manufacturing.

“Our customers will be able to unlock the potential of the Industrial Internet of Things with MindSphere, now also on the leading Chinese cloud platform,” he said. “Today, we further strengthen our global leadership in automating and digitalising the industrial world.”

Simon Hu, senior VP of Alibaba Group, said that the partnership “marks an exciting step towards Alibaba Cloud’s goal to enable digital transformation across the globe.

“We are delighted to partner with Siemens and, together, we hope to accelerate the adoption of IoT products and services that will create industry-wide breakthroughs and progress.”

The deal was among a tranche of Sino-German commercial agreements worth 20 billion euros announced during the Chinese premier’s visit.

Internet of Business says

China is automating faster than any other country on Earth, as it seeks to modernise its processes and retain its cost advantage in the global market, as its middle-class population soars and wages rise.

The impact of the US-China trade war, which kicked off last Friday in the form of escalating trade sanctions, can only be guessed at. However, the deal with Siemens reveals that China should not only be seen as an economic threat, but also as a valuable research, development, and trading partner, which offers access to a self-contained market of more than 1.3 billion people.