Jomoo Kitchen & Bath Co Ltd, one of China's biggest sanitary manufacturers, said it will be adding smart manufacturing to its operations, in a move to expand its presence in global markets.

 

The Fujian-based company said it had spent 1.56 billion yuan ($226 million) in upgrading manufacturing automation. It plans to start five smart output facilities, aiming to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

 

The plant, with additional annual production estimated to be worth 6 billion yuan, will be built in its established factories in two or three years. The additional output will include customized bathroom cabinets, ceramics, smart toilets and intelligent cabinets.

 

Jomoo Chairman Lin Xiaofa said with the upgrading of the consumer market, traditional manufacturers needed to push forward with their industrial transformation and upgrading.

 

"The Belt and Road Initiative and the supply-side structural reform will yield consumption dividends, bringing us new development opportunities," Lin said.

 

"We plan to increase our goal for 2020 sales up to 15.2 billion yuan. And we aim to become a world leader in providing customized household items by 2030."

 

According to Jomoo, it not only needs to upgrade its production but also optimize the business model.

 

"Connecting production systems, sales, customer services and big data will help us to analyze consumers' different needs," Lin said. "Then we can offer better customer services. Big data also can also help us forecast sales and rationally manage our inventory."

 

In 2015, China's State Council unveiled the Made in China 2025 strategy, a 10-year national plan to transform China from a manufacturing giant into a global high-tech manufacturing power. The strategy is also echoed in China's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20). In particular, smart manufacturing is defined as a key development area in the two documents, provide opportunities for domestic manufacturers.

 

Internet Society of China Secretary-General Lu Wei told an internet industry annual conference in January that smart manufacturing was becoming the key development area for industrial upgrading.

 

"The integration of manufacturing and the internet will bring about a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation," Lu said.

"We will see big waves coming this year," Lu added.

 

Founded in 1990, Jomoo owns 16 factories and operates more than 4,000 exclusive stores.

 

Although the exact figures remain closely guarded, it is believed the company enjoyed 40 percent growth in sales in 2016 compared with the same period in 2015. Last year its online transactions increased to 360 million yuan during the annual Nov 11 online shopping festival, with a 44 percent year-on-year growth.