TOKYO -- Japan's Fujitsu will partner with Chinese group Shanghai Yidian to sell factory management systems in China, where the government is promoting such technology as a way to cope with a shrinking labor force and improve manufacturing quality.
These systems fall into the realm of "internet of things" -- networks of machines, such as factory robots or appliances, that can collect and share data.
The municipal-government-run Shanghai Yidian group comprises nearly 150 companies making electronic components, lighting and other products. Some of the group's factories have already adopted Fujitsu software that allows managers to monitor equipment in real time. These systems track energy usage as well as any problems the machines encounter.
Fujitsu and Shanghai Yidian will begin their sales effort as early as next year, focusing on coastal manufacturing hubs. The Chinese partner will install the necessary sensors in customers' factories, while Fujitsu will provide the software.
The Japanese technology group will seek other partners in China to compete for orders nationwide. It aims to outfit 100 factories in three years, which would translate to an estimated 10 billion yen ($97.3 million) in sales for Fujitsu.
The Chinese government has designated the tie-up between Shanghai Yidian and Fujitsu as a "smart factory" model project, which Fujitsu sees as an advantage in winning new customers.