“Digitization and the transition to intelligent manufacturing is a huge opportunity for China,” says Dirk von Wahl. The 55-year old is very familiar with the economy of the world’s most populous country: he’s been living there with his family since 1994 and has been managing TÜV SÜD’s operations in the country since 2009. “China hasn’t lost its dynamic edge and is constantly growing and developing.”
One of his favorite projects is robotics. By 2020, China wants to be able to manufacture at least 100,000 industrial robots annually. Right now, there are more such robots working in factories in China than in any other country on the planet—and in two years, according to estimates from the International Federation of Robots trade association, it could rise to almost one billion. That would equal almost one-third of the entire inventory across the globe.
“No matter who you speak to, university professors, politicians or business owners: robotics is China’s greatest opportunity,” von Wahl says. “And an increasingly important field for TÜV SÜD: We’re ready to establish a local certification for industrial robots and hope that the country will soon open this field to foreign companies. We can make a major contribution to making sure new technologies are safely implemented.”
In the area of mobility, von Wahl, who is CEO of TÜV SÜD Greater China, finds China right at the forefront as well—also thanks to a radical government-imposed reorganization of the automobile industry. Starting next year, car manufacturers in China must meet binding minimum targets for the percentage of alternative engines in production and sales: a 10-percent quota in 2019, and 12 percent in 2020.