Smart meters takes 45% of Chinese IoT market, that might decrease its IoT competitiveness

Smart meters takes 45% of Chinese IoT market, that might decrease its IoT competitiveness
China’s largest IoT application segment goes to smart meter devices, according to research firm ABI Research. This scene, in the future, might cause issues on its IoT competitiveness.

From ABI Research’s latest report, more than 45% of China’s IoT connected devices belongs to smart meters. When measured by cellular and fixed line connections, the percentage of smart meters adoptions goes to up to 63%. The big share of smart meters is resulted from the country’s investments in the utility infrastructure. 

According to Navigant Consulting, by 2020, there will be 437.85 million smart meters installed in China. Compared to the following biggest market in the world, the U.S., about 132.04 million smart meters are expected to be installed in the country. 

“Concentrated IoT investment may mean other application segments do not get the attention deserved, particularly in advanced analytics and professional services,” says Dan Shey, the managing director and vice president at ABI Research on the press release.

Now meter, module and gateway vendors in China include Holley Metering, Kaifa Technology and Wasion Group for electricity, gas and water meters; while Neoway, SIMCom and ZTE provides cellular module services. 

At the technology side, Low-Power, Wide-Area (LPWA) technologies, from ABI Research’s expectation, might also play a role in the Chinese IoT market and the LoRa Alliance is the likely to be the market winner. However, this also brings the downside to the market dominance that the region will lack of investment in two critical IoT service markets – advanced analytics and professional services. 

When smart meters dominates the IoT market, that means non-smart-meter segments will have a smaller opportunity to grow and innovation and solution quality will be limited at the whole IoT market. As ABI Research indicates, advanced analytics and professional services require a vibrant and competitive market – various connected devices work together to enrich the advanced data analytics while professional services provide systems integration and a broad range of application development. Both of them offer added value on the IoT market. 

Meanwhile, this gap might also open up another opportunity for foreign IoT firms to fill out Chinese suppliers’ skill set. 

“The growing population in China’s urban centers means opportunities for smart city services integration beyond metering markets, particularly in autonomous driving. China’s aging population also portends growth in smart home, patient monitoring and aging-in-place services,” said Shey. 
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