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How to enable the IoT ecosystem in China

By 2023, the number of cellular IoT connections will have grown to 3.5 billion at an annual growth rate of 30 percent – with the total number of connected devices reaching 31 billion – according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report. Of these 3.5 billion cellular IoT connections, North East Asia is anticipated to account for 2.2 billion, representing a massive growth opportunity in China.
Sketch of IoT smart transport

Huge IoT market riddled with challenges

China's rapid pace in IoT adoption and innovation has been driven in large part by the rise of several IoT startups catering to multiple verticals, following in the footsteps of hugely successful tech giants such as such as Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu. IoT in China has grown across industries including infrastructure, manufacturing, healthcare, and transportation. The major factors driving the growth are the rising trends of industrial automation, increasing internet penetration, and mainstream adoption of cloud computing. However, the IoT landscape in China remains fragmented and presents challenges that must be addressed to fully capitalize on this opportunity.

The IoT ecosystem in China today has four key members – telecom service providers, enterprises, application developers, and device manufacturers. However, each member of the ecosystem is focused primarily on its strengths, for example, service provider with connectivity, device manufacturer with low manufacturing costs, feature rich devices, and so on. They’d all like to play a larger role in the ecosystem and deliver value beyond their core competence, but realistically, an application developer isn’t going to deploy a global network, and a device manufacturer isn’t going to develop wide-scale applications.


The complexity demonstrated above creates the necessity for orchestration and collaboration. In addition to a fragmented ecosystem in China, both enterprises and service providers face several other challenges. These include operational complexity, digital transformation, interoperability and fragmentation of data, global coverage and connectivity, and lack of network and connectivity insights.

The need for a robust end-to-end IoT platform

Enterprises and service providers in China can overcome all the above-mentioned challenges with a robust end-to-end IoT platform. An ideal platform would build on the strength of connectivity management and leverages expertise in 3GPP networks for both Massive and Critical IoT.

Connectivity management is essential to enabling full control through the entire IoT device lifecycle. From unified standardization enabling seamless communication between businesses and technologies, to one eSIM working globally without roaming, it ensures maximum performance and flexibility in both operations and manufacturing. Global cellular APIs enable scalability across networks, geographies, and providers’ ecosystems, which is critical in a market like China. Additionally, with unified architecture, only one integration is required for global management. This means that as the business grows, global connectivity is already taken care of, and service providers can focus on expanding their IoT networks.

China Mobile leading in IoT

China Mobile is a leader in this space, and it recently signed a major agreement with Ericsson to develop IoT opportunities across industry verticals and enterprises.

China Mobile is focused on solving unified connection management and roaming across borders while also building on business opportunities in the global IoT market. The company was looking for solutions that enabled scalability, exposure to global APIs, and unified connectivity management through unified standardization and architecture.

Integrate once, run everywhere!

This requires a globally-deployed cloud service that allows China Mobile to offer connectivity management to enterprises. And it found one in the Ericsson Device Connection Platform (DCP).

Find out more about the Ericsson IoT Accelerator platform, which provides faster time to market, lower startup costs, and easy scalability based on an as a Service model.

And check out an illustrative video about the platform’s Connectivity Management, the DCP.

If you would like to find out more about Ericsson’s IoT portfolio, please don’t hesitate to get in direct contact with me.

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