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Intelligent platforms change lifestyles, business models

By Chen Meiling ( China Daily )

Updated: 2017-05-25

Provincial capital embraces new sector that has become a crucial growth engine, Chen Meiling reports.

Truck Alliance, China's online information sharing platform for freight transport, said it will expand its business in the truck services market after securing a second round of financing of up to $156 million - led by Baidu - this month.

The company will introduce online financial tools, including insurance, loans, payment and settlement, to develop a related logistics service business, including the sale of eletronic toll collection cards, in addition to its business trading in trucks, tires and auto parts, said Chen Tianting, manager of the business development department of Truck Alliance.

 Intelligent platforms change lifestyles, business models

A robot attracts audiences at the 2016 China International Big Data Expo held in Guiyang. This year's expo lasts from May 25-28. Zhang Kai / For China Daily

By the end of April, the company had distributed 1 million ETC cards, with a recharge amount of more than 50 million yuan ($7.26 million) per day, she said.

Dai Wenjian, CEO of Truck Alliance, said at a recent forum in Beijing: "An industry platform must construct a service system to increase value ... In 2016, trucks ETC was a breakthrough for us. We increased the use of ETC among Chinese trucks from 1 percent to 20 percent. That alone will help Truck Alliance to achieve profitability in 2017."

Founded in 2013 in Guiyang, capital of Southwest China's Guizhou province, the company has become a giant in the province's freight industry with an estimated value of more than $1 billion.

It had set up 1,000 service centers in 360 domestic cities by the end of April. It has 3.7 million registered trucks.

On the Truck Alliance online platform, more than 5 million messages requesting freight transportation are uploaded every day for truck drivers from across the whole country to consider, according to Chen. Detailed data such as the route, weight of goods and requirement of the trucks height are collected to efficiently match the request with an appropriate truck driver.

More and more companies are locating their big data business in Guiyang, including big names such as Google, Intel, Microsoft, IBM and Foxconn.

Foxconn built a tunnel between two mountains in Guiyang to accommodate its 6,000 machines that store 300 million gigabytes of data for its factory in Guiyang. In the tunnel, natural wind is used to cool the servers down to save energy.

Intelligent platforms change lifestyles, business models

A staff member with Foxconn said that companies usually use cooling systems to keep servers at a consistent temperature to avoid machines being damaged. Because servers give off a lot of heat, the energy used around the world to cool servers is as much as that generated by the Three Gorges Dam, a hydroelectric power station in Central China's Hubei province.

Recent developments

Guizhou, featuring a mountainous landscape and cool climate even in summer, has made big data an engine of development.

In February 2016, Guiyang became China's first national big data experimental zone. By the end of 2016, there were more than 4,000 big data-related enterprises in the city, with an industry scale of more than 130 billion yuan.

Guiyang also has China's first big data exchange center, the first civil traffic information database and incubators and entrepreneurs' town in many districts of the city.

Guizhou's big data industry is expected to surpass 500 billion yuan with annual growth of 20 percent in the 13th Five-Year-Plan period (2016-20), according to the government working conference held in January 2016.

Big data applications have entered the citizens' intelligent, connected lifestyles.

Xiao Ai, the first civil affairs services robot in Guiyang, produced by local high-tech company Xiaoi Robot Technology, made its debut in a community of Wudang district of Guiyang this month. Equipped with a dynamic digital knowledge base, the robot can replace human labor to answer citizen's questions and improve the efficiency of consultancy and information searching.

Her sister, Xiao I hosts the opening ceremony of the 2017 China International Big Data Expo in Guiyang from May 25 to 28.

As of May 23, as many as 51,000 people had registered to attend the expo, according to the organizers. That includes 573 distinguished guests from China and 514 from overseas. Overseas attendees will travel from 22 countries, including the Unites States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Russia, Singapore, Japan and India.

Businessmen, experts and officials from across the world will attend the event to discuss major topics of the big data industry, such as the digital economy, intelligent cities and artificial intelligence, as well as to find possible business opportunities at the exhibitions of various big data products.

The organizer said recently that CEOs of world-famous IT companies, including Jack Ma of Alibaba, Ma Huateng of Tencent and Li Yanhong of Baidu, would come, along with 137 executive managers of Fortune Global 500 enterprises such as Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

Contact the writer at chenmeiling@chinadaily.com.cn

Intelligent platforms change lifestyles, business models

Intelligent platforms change lifestyles, business models

(China Daily 05/25/2017 page11)

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