The Future Of CAD Usage in China

From Manufacturing To Design, A Trend Leading Chinese Education Transformation

The first indication of the accelerating transition is the rapid increase in gross domestic expenditure in the Chinese R&D sector0.73% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 1991 to 1.75% of GDP in 2010.

The Chinese research and innovation system is largely leading at the government level. The leading body is the Ministry Of Science and Technology (MOST) which defines policy guidelines and priorities of Chinese scientific research through five year plans. This body offers support for high-tech, for basic research, for R&D programs on key technologies. In addition, the State Key Laboratories certification (SKL) offers financial support to the best laboratories.

China is definitely moving from “Made in China” to “Designed in China”, and it is clear that design and engineering education is a part of this change. The number of engineering schools and universities is growing very quickly and there are more than 400 Engineering school programs in China alone right now, with an estimated 10,000 designers graduating every year.

Engineering Education Audiences
Source: Aggregate of World Bank, UNESCO, Governments figures (2011/2012)

If we look at Asia in general on the table above, the number of engineering graduates shows a total of 780,000 students versus 160,000 students in the US. Moreover, in China, 38 percent of the student population chose an engineering course! Outside the demographic explanations, the “Designed in China” trend is partially responsible for creating a fast-growing population of potential future CAD users throughout the academic program.

CATIA Community Conference

CAD users in China are distinctly younger than in North America, for example, where the average age is closer to 40 versus 25 in China. Bearing this in mind, and recognizing the potential for growth in the number of CATIA users, Dassault Systemes decided to organize a CATIA Community Conference in order to bring together experienced as well as future users.

From a general point of view, the conference was a great success, providing all participants with the opportunity to learn about product strategies and new features. As it was also the first global CATIA Conference in China, emphasis was placed on the theme “Let’s go and see the moon”, with the presence of a special guest J.F Clervoy, a French spationaut who traveled into space 3 times. The theme was justified by the influenced by China’s latest Shenzhou manned space mission, carrying three taikonauts on their journey to the orbiting Tiangong Space Lab.

Below is our team of CATIA Astronauts with Hao Feng Wang (General Manager, China), Philippe Laufer (CATIA CEO) and Bernard Parrenin (CATIA China)  🙂

Collaborative ECO-Design Contest

In China, due to the young age of the users, there is an incredible appetite for social technologies, as well as for 3D. Thus a fertile ground for the leveraging the innovation  capacities from our 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.

The “ECO Design Contest”, had the  theme “Beautiful, Transportation, Green, Collaboration”. It was an initiative to promote the talent of students from China and Taiwan. Participants, from both locations, were mixed to form different teams and got to work on the same project. This initiative illustrated the value of collaboration between different cultures and locations. Students were all using the 3DSWYM collaborative platform while one  team  used 3DVIA Scene. It is interesting to emphasize the fact that participants from within one team did not know each other. What a great opportunity for China and Taiwan to discover themselves by winning a contest!

Below are the project and the team which won the ECO Design Contest:

The winning project (“Falcon”), with a helicopter design, was the only project able to combine social utility as well as industrial feasibility. The “Falcon team” was also the one which demonstrated an optimal use of Dassault Systèmes’ collaborative tools, such as 3DSWYM, and which had the strongest organization in team based design: one in charge of the concept definition, one in styling, and one in engineering.

Today’s young generation is more and more creative, possessing the knowledge and capacity to leverage social media and collaborative tools in a natural way. Knowing that this generation is exponentially represented in China, CATIA has to stay a reference and encourage innovative inspiration. The background of government initiatives, demographic changes and the development of social technologies, all mixed with 3D, show how China is at the turning point for a CAD usage revolution!

Thank you for reading this post and see you at the next CATIA Community Conference !  😉


Cyril is a member of the CATIA Communications and Events team.


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