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How Big Data Drives Innovation? Evidence from China’s Manufacturing Sector

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DOI: 10.25236/icbdem.2020.030


Chen Qing, Yao Jun

Corresponding Author

Chen Qing


The integration of Big Data and manufacturing has come to the research forefront in recent decade. In response to heightened economic uncertainty, Chinese manufacturers are stepping up efforts to increase production efficiency and flexibility, which are also in accordance with the standards of industry 4.0. This paper discusses how Big Data tools such as data mining, cloud computing and artificial intelligence are transforming China’s manufacturing sector, which includes the optimization cases of supply chain management, lean & agile production, industrial internet platform. Meanwhile, this paper also conducts an empirical analysis by using the number of patent authorization with regards to Big Data technologies. It found that though Big Data innovations stem from the information technology sector, the mechanical engineering sector has been steadily catching up, while artificial intelligence and internet of things are the newly emerging fields. In the conclusion part, this paper answers important Big Data questions: (1) Will artificial intelligence replace human intelligence and lead to massive unemployment? (2) How can we better adapt to a Big Data-driven economy and make maximum use of the technological advancement? Moreover, it suggests that in the short run, Big Data application should be more user-friendly to reduce public resistance and win support; in the long run, Big Data knowledge should be instilled into every aspect of the education system to bring up generations with big-data mindset. Serving as a lighthouse, this paper opens the way to more systematic studies in the crossfield between Big Data and manufacturing.


Big data; Innovation; Manufacturing; China