China’s tech dominance drives advanced construction capabilities
The incredible evolution of China's innovation industry has assisted the maturity of its building construction sector.
The early era of computer-aided design is long behind us, and now the capabilities of modern systems can keep up with even our most imaginative designers and architects. As the limits of what we can build become confined only by the materials and construction technologies at our disposal, all areas of technology and innovation feed into the advancement of the entire construction industry.
As the home of many of the world’s most advanced manufacturing capabilities, China has matured rapidly over the past decade to become not just a manufacturer, but a design and innovation hub, with its own major corporations driving new enterprise and intellectual property across many technology-enabled industries.
The story of China as a manufacturing hub is well known, having grown from just 3 per cent of global manufacturing output in 1990 to now dominating output across many industries, including well over 50 per cent of physical production for many technology industries. Today, pure manufacturing is being reduced as a focus, with higher-level efforts shifting toward the development of intellectual property and design leadership becoming more prominent for Chinese companies.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) also stands out as a policy that adds confidence to the nation’s construction industry, with trillion-dollar funds and support being made available for not only domestic initiatives, but also projects around the globe. These, and other programmes driven by Chinese infrastructure and building construction companies, will drive new ideas and new standards when combined with the country’s technological leadership.
Technological innovation is critical in construction development. As new technologies emerge, policies and standards must be set in place, and reliability is fundamental to any technology becoming part of a building construction process.
Chinese enterprise and policy frameworks have created a capacity for companies to experiment and develop new technologies in ways that can be piloted and prototyped so that standards can emerge. In areas from 3D printing for construction to how communications technologies should integrate into advanced building construction, opportunities to test, refine and mature have been abundant.
Reputation and capability have also grown rapidly for Chinese building and construction companies during the past decade. Combined with the development of many network and sensor technologies over the past 10 years, the opportunities for integration across these fields has grown.
This innovation in sensors and networks has led to increased industrial opportunities for Internet of Things integration into building construction, bringing the idea of ‘cognitive buildings’ to life. Best-in-class energy efficiency comes through a marriage of excellence in design, materials, engineering, and active technologies, enabling building-management systems to make smart real-time decisions about, for instance, climate control at various times of day.
Across designers, suppliers, builders and technology developers, the Chinese building construction industry has reached maturity over the past decade. With an entrepreneurial sector that is eager to extend itself into any market that holds high-quality development opportunities, it’s an exciting time to explore global partnerships and possibilities.