China RFID leverages the Internet of Things
Jul 03, 2015
Wireless networking is rapidly pervading society, not least in China, where allied topic RFID is lifting off very rapidly. It follows the world's largest RFID order, that for the National ID cards of China, and other big orders such as library tagging in three cities dwarfing all other library tagging in the world. The unique new IDTechEx report RFID in China 2015-2025 reveals that the Chinese RFID market will jump to around $4.3 billion in 2025, powered by sales into the transportation/automotive and financial/security/safety sectors. All that is predominately at 13.56 MHz "HF" in both numbers and market value, in contrast the UHF being very important for RFID in the Americas.
Leading analyst on the project, Dr Xiaoxi He, a Chinese national, says, "HF technology was developed much earlier in China compared to UHF technology and now the Chinese companies have mastered the core technologies in HF chip design. HF RFID covers a wide range of government-led projects including National Identification cards, transit cards, new bank cards with higher security requirements, passports and subway and bus tickets.
UHF tags can be read at a longer distance and the cost is lower than with HF tags. The shipment of UHF tags exceeded that of HF tags for the first time in 2012. The annual shipment of UHF tags in China is very similar to that of HF tags. However, for the real applications in China, HF tags take 80% of the total value while the others (including UHF, LF and microwave) take the other 20%. That is because a large amount of UHF tags manufactured by market-oriented companies are for export. There are about 300 million UHF tags/cards used annually in China, including 50 million tags/cards for the smart meter project of national electricity grid application and 20 million for clothing projects of the People's Liberation Army".
All this makes China more like Europe in RFID, though with faster growth, not least in active RFID, where the tag has an on-board power source such as a battery to increase functionality. Allied to this is NFC with mobile phones interrogating tags at HF. Much work in both China and Europe now forms part of the vision for the Internet of Things beyond the narrow vision of IP addressed microprocessor nodes with many sensors and transceiver. For example, Golden Spring Internet of Things in China is a leader in RFID equipment and Shenzhen Marktrace is shifting focus from passive RFID to higher margin active RFID. In the "12-5 Plan for Development of the Internet of Things", the Chinese government has addressed the importance of having its own core chip technologies in UHF and MWF. A special fund for IoT development is being deployed to three Chinese UHF chip companies in 2015.
For more information see the new IDTechEx Research report RFID in China 2015-2025: Forecasts, Players, Opportunities.