Accenture to establish new Innovation Hub in Shenzhen, China

08 November 2018 3 min. read

Global tech-minded professional services firm Accenture is set to launch a research and development centre in China specialised in artificial intelligence, robotics, and Industry 4.0 technologies.

As one component of a new Accenture Innovation Hub to be launched in Shenzhen in the first half of next year, the global firm will through its research and development lab work in collaboration with leading local tech companies, emerging start-ups, and academic institutions among others, with the aim of promoting innovations at scale and enabling the co-creation of solutions with clients.

The new lab will specialise in applied research and development in cutting-edge artificial intelligence and robotics applications, along with what the firm terms Industry X.0, described as its business arm focused on helping companies redefine smart connected software and physical products. The lab will join a network of 32 Accenture Labs and Nano Labs operating across the globe, including regional hubs in Singapore and Tokyo.

“An epicenter of innovation, Shenzhen attracts world-class talent, start-ups and enterprises,” said Accenture chief technology and innovation officer Paul Daugherty, a respected international thought leader in the technology domain. “The new Accenture Lab will tap into the tremendous technology innovation in the region and combine it with our world-class R&D capabilities to explore the next wave of AI and robotics technology.”Accenture to establish Innovation Hub in Shenzen China“We recognise the significant investment China has made in innovation and the pivotal role that Shenzhen is playing as a catalyst for growth in China’s vigorous Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area,” adds Accenture Greater China Wei Zhu, who took on the role at the end of last year. “Our plans to open an Accenture Innovation Hub in Shenzhen represents a strategic step in building a more robust innovation ecosystem for our clients in Greater China.”

To be located at High Tech Park in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, and providing cross-industry clients with customised visits, design thinking sessions and co-innovation workshops, the lab according to a statement will initially focus on how deep learning and knowledge graphs can be used for sophisticated decision-making capabilities - “helping machines understand information in the context of broader relationships” - with a number of benefits for firms in industries such as manufacturing, energy and retail.

“In the manufacturing industry,” Accenture offers as an example, “this could mean providing quality engineers with new ways to increase inspection precision, accuracy and speed – or programming robotic arms to predict upcoming steps or recognize gestures and commands more naturally. In the retail and consumer goods sector, it’s about applying AI for more personalised customer experiences and smart products. In the energy sector, it could mean using AI to maintain equipment, improve the way energy is managed and offer consumers new services.”

The establishment of a local Accenture Innovation Hub further marks a notable move by the firm in China in recent times, following a recent strategic alliance struck with local AI product recognition pioneer Malong Technologies - Accenture’s first such deal in China - while earlier this year, the firm’s growing digital wing Accenture Interactive picked up another local firm, integrated marketing agency HO Communication. Accordingly, the new Innovation Hub will also feature Accenture Ventures, which will focus on expanding the firm’s portfolio of investments in Chinese start-ups and emerging companies.