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BOE Technology Chairman Wang Dongsheng discusses the keys to success in the IoT age on Nov. 7. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)
Business

Innovate or die, says chief of China's top panel maker

BOE Technology branches out to harness IoT opportunities

TOKYO -- Innovation offers businesses the only path for survival in the age of connected devices and artificial intelligence, Wang Dongsheng, chairman of Chinese display maker BOE Technology Group, said on Tuesday.

"BOE ensures at least 7% of our revenue goes to research and development every year, and in some years it could reach more than 10%," Wang told the Nikkei Global Management Forum in Tokyo. "Some said we were 'crazy,' but in my view it is 'crazy' not to invest in R&D and not to insist on technology innovation. ... We have to rely on innovation."

BOE is primarily known as one of the world's largest producers of liquid crystal display panels. It accounted for 25% of global LCD panel shipments in the third quarter of 2017, according to a report by IHS Markit. But Wang said he is no longer concerned about simple numbers, and is more focused  on "how to develop more disruptive products through innovation," amid the rise of the internet of things.

The chairman noted that BOE has already taken steps to adapt to all-encompassing connectivity.

"On the basis of display technology, we gradually developed strengths in sensors, AI and big data technologies, and applied such technologies in four fields -- smart manufacturing, smart internet of vehicles, smart retail and smart energy, forming the smart systems business," he said. "We've also developed the health care services business by integrating those technologies with life sciences and technologies."

In short, BOE has "repositioned" itself as "an IoT company providing intelligent interface products and professional services for information interaction and human health."

Wang did acknowledge that it is "very difficult to succeed on one's own" in the IoT age, with all companies facing challenges in business, management and so on. Only through cooperation, he suggested, can they fully grasp today's new opportunities.

"We will open up our application and technology platforms with a positive attitude, and develop innovations together with partners from other fields," Wang said, "to create customer value and share growth opportunities."

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