Photo 1：A technician tests an industrial robot in the Qingdao high-tech industrial development zone. Photos Provided To China Daily
Photo 2：Qingdao boasts a friendly environment for innovation, business and residence.
The ongoing ASEM High-Level Forum on Digital Connectivity, part of the Asia-Europe Meeting, has put the host city Qingdao, Shandong province, in the limelight.
The coastal city in East China is at the forefront of the country in terms of information technology infrastructure, smart manufacturing and big data-based industries.
Home appliance manufacturer Haier, headquartered in Qingdao, has launched eight internet-based plants, producing refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines and water heaters, to deliver tailor-made products after receiving online orders.
The plants together have reduced their product research and development period by more than 20 percent, slashed the delivery period to seven to 15 days from 21 days previously and improved energy efficiency by 5 percent, China Industry News reported.
Other local industrial leaders that feature smart production facilities include Qingdao Sentury Tire and Qingdao Desheng Machine Manufacture.
While the local business community is rolling out a series of smart plants to accelerate the upgrading of traditional sectors, a group of research institutes focusing on industrial robots and internet-based industries are providing support in order to further innovation.
By hosting an array of exhibitions and other professional events, local authorities have placed an emphasis on creating opportunities to exchange the latest industrial knowledge and bring in technological and managerial expertise.
Qingdao hosted the 2016 World Internet Plus Industry Conference in September. The Chinese Academy of Engineering's first manufacturing service center was unveiled during the event and the first strategic alliance for intelligent manufacturing innovation in the global home appliance sector was founded.
"The event provides a new platform for exchanges and cooperation between industrialists, scholars and researchers in China and abroad," Lu Yongxiang, former vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said at the opening ceremony.
"It is of great significance to promote internet-based industries and advance the shift from the China-made to the China-created model," said Lu, who now serves as the director of the National Manufacturing Strategy Advisory Committee.
As a national model city for next-generation internet application and a national pilot project for smart city technology and standards, Qingdao has a strong IT infrastructure network and has won a great number of national awards relating to smart city development.
To date, the top 20 dotcom companies in China, including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and Sina, have all established a presence in the city.
Big data projects are progressing well in the city, funded by big names such as Huawei, Hewlett-Packard and Tsinghua University, as well as three major domestic telecom service providers - China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.
HP plans to invest heavily in its global big data application, processing and testing center and an intelligent industrial experimental zone in Qingdao.
Cloud computing service provider Inspur has pledged to pour 4 billion yuan ($588 million) in developing a group of projects, including a big data and cloud-computing research center and large industrial software R&D and training bases.
Qingdao is sharpening its competitive edge in innovation along the supply chain, ranging from data collection chip and equipment design and manufacturing, to end products such as smartphones and wearable devices.