Matrix and The Belt and Road
The Belt and Road
The Belt and Road Initiative (or B&R) is short for the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Upholding principles of political trust, economic inte-gration, cultural exchange as well as common interests, common goals and mutual commitment, the initiative aims to build a platform of multilateral cooperation between China and countries along the Ancient Silk Road.
The Belt and Road spans across Eurasia, connecting the vibrant East Asian economy with the more developed European economy linking many developing economies in between. The Silk Road Economic Belt consists of three routes: 1. China—Central Asia—Russia—Baltic Sea; 2. China—Central Asia—West Asia—Persian Bay—Mediterranean; 3. China—Southeast Asia—India Ocean. The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road consists of two routes: 1. China’s eastern coast—South China Sea—Indian Ocean—Europe; 2. China’s eastern coast—South China Sea—South Pacific.
The Belt and Road Initiative will link major cities on key inland trading routes, building multi-national economic corridors that connect 1. China, Mongolia and Russia; 2. China, Central and West Asia; and 3. China and the Indochinese Peninsula. On sea, it will cre-ate two economic corridors connecting 1. China and Pakistan and 2. China, Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, bringing closer the relations and economic ties of countries along its path.
Picture: The Belt and Road Initiative Overview
By Jan. 30th, 2021, China had secured the participation of 171 countries and organiza-tions in the Belt and Road Initiative through 205 cooperation agreements.
The Significance of the Belt and Road
Fueling China’s Next Round of Growth
The Belt and Road Initiative is an ingenious plan for the economic locomotive of the world, China, to leverage its advantage in manufacturing capacity, technology, capital, expertise and advanced industrial models for international influence and market share. China will take this opportunity to open up to the world and carry out dialogues with countries along the Belt and Road in an effort to build multilateral global partnerships for the long-lasting economic growth of the world.
The Belt and Road will drive the growth of China’s western provinces, as well as Mon-golia and Central Asian countries, thus integrating these inland countries into globaliza-tion. As China exports its manufacturing capacity and leading industries westward, countries along the Belt and Road stand to benefit. Historically, Central Asian countries have only served as the middlemen for the commercial and cultural exchange between the East and the West. The Belt and Road Initiative will raise them from the state of un-derdevelopment and help them narrow the poverty gap caused by globalization. As countries in these regions catch up in economic development, the world will become a more peaceful, prosperous and harmonious place.
Creating New Regional Partnerships
An all-encompassing strategic initiative, the Belt and Road will surpass the Marshall Plan by virtue of multilateral dialogues, common goals and shared interests. It will de-fine the 21st-century way of international cooperation.
Xinjiang and the Belt and Road
As the Chinese government places a focus on the China—Central Asia—Russia—Baltic Sea route and the China—Central Asia—West Asia—Persian Bay route, we can expect Central Asia to become a vital link for the Belt and Road, and Xinjiang will find itself at a strategic spot connecting China and Central Asia on land.
With a land border of over 5600 kilometers, Xinjiang province is contiguous to Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia and several other countries. On the Belt and Road, Xinjiang is the gateway for the exchange of resources and basic materials between China and its neighbors to the west.
Picture: Xinjiang’s Central Position on the Belt and Road
In concordance with the Belt and Road Initiative and in a massive infrastructure construction endeavour, Xinjiang is building itself into the center of transportation, commerce, logistics, finance, culture, education and medical care for the surrounding area. In the future, Xinjiang will be providing medical services for Central Asian countries. According to Xinjiang local officials, the province is ahead of Central Asian countries in medical care, and over 1500 foreign nationals from Central Asian countries had been to Xinjiang to seek medical treatment in 2015. Not only hospitals in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, but also those hospitals on the border of the province received foreign patients. In the future, Xinjiang is looking to offer medical services in one package with tourist programs.
Transportation, commerce and logistics go hand in hand. Central Asian countries are the major trading partners of Xinjiang. Although the province's import and export volume dropped to 19.68 billion USD in 2015 due to shrinking demands from Central Asia, trade with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan still accounted for 46% of the province’s total, while the volume of trade between Xinjiang and Central Asia also accounted for a significant proportion of the total trade volume between China and Central Asian countries. This is to say that although many of China's exports to Central Asia are produced on China’s eastern coast or central regions, they eventually find their way into Central Asia through Xinjiang.
Xinjiang is also building itself into the central hub for the three Economic Belt routes that lead to Central and West Asia, Russia and beyond.
All these projects create opportunities for the local manufacturing industry, and needless to say, large quantities of heavy machinery will be deployed for construction work. And while the lack of skilled workers and the harsh climate of Xinjiang province create a challenge for machinery maintenance by traditional methods, it presents Matrix’s predictive maintenance technology a golden opportunity to shine.
Matrix is using IoT to construct a predictive failure alarm system, which consists of three layers:
1. Data collection and model building: collecting data and information through sensors at different parts of a machine and predicting the speed at which each component is wearing down;
2. Failure alarm: issuing warnings based on the collected data through machine learning;
3. Failure prediction through correlation: marking and categorizing the data and using machine learning to correlate them with specific failure types.
If Matrix’s predictive maintenance is adopted by all Belt and Road projects, it will help save 1.5 billion USD of maintenance costs each year. Well-functioning machinery is the key to the completion of Xinjiang’s infrastructure goals.
Picture: Matrix’s AI Machine Failure Prediction System
Matrix is already promoting its AI failure prediction system to several industries in Xinjiang. The system has achieved great results and won the recognition of many.
Picture: AI Machine Failure Prediction at Zhundong Coal Mine Predicted the Break of a Bucket Tooth on an Excavator
Energy is one of the major industries of Xinjiang, and the province’s huge reserves are crucial for construction projects along the Belt and Road. By the end of 2015, Xinjiang had reported a known coal reserve of 379.5 billion tons, second only to Inner Mongolia in China. Here the layer of coal lies close to the ground, making excavation easy and cheap. Oil and natural gas are found in abundance in Dzungar, Tarim, Turpan-Kumul and many other basins. The oil reserves of all Xinjiang basins are estimated to total 21.3 billion tons, constituting 20% of the oil reserves of all basins in China combined. Furthermore, the natural gas reserves of Xinjiang basins total 1.03 billion square meters, constituting 32% of the natural gas reserves of all basins in China combined. In addition, Xinjiang also has incomparable access to wind and solar energy, and the development of renewable energy looks promising.
Energy efficiency is an important topic for the Belt and Road. If achieved, it will greatly reduce the costs of construction projects.
Take wind power for example. By June 2021, wind power plants in Xinjiang had ramped up their installed capacity to a total of 290 million kilowatts. Though this is a remarkable achievement, oftentimes more electric power is generated than can be consumed or stored up, causing a huge waste. This is an issue troubling the rest of the world too. Since the generation of renewable energy depends heavily on weather conditions, it is extremely unpredictable and difficult to fully utilize. Roughly 30% to 35% of wind-generated electric power in Xinjiang is wasted in this fashion. With a 290-million-kilowatt installed capacity, that will be 120 billion kilowatt-hours wasted every year.
There are two possible solutions: 1. making the generation of renewable energy more consistent, or 2. making it more predictable so that we can design usage or storage plans accordingly.
Matrix takes the second approach. Currently, in a cooperative program with China Huadian Corporation, Matrix is using AI modeling to predict wind force, based on which we can estimate how much electric power will be generated and plan accordingly. (This same technology is also being tested at the Beijing Capital International Airport by the Air Traffic Management Bureau.) So far, this program has achieved great results. In the test area assigned by Huadian Corporation, Matrix is able to achieve 92% efficiency, cutting energy waste by 70%.
Picture: Wind Power AI Prediction Mechanism
In the future, Matrix’s AI prediction will also work for solar and hydropower, and help improve the efficiency of coal and natural gas usage. With its help, the energy industry in Xinjiang will better serve a supportive role for the Belt and Road Initiative.
Smart Industrial Park
Xinjiang suffers from a workforce shortage due to its lack of skilled workers, a high cost of labor and risky working conditions (which mining and excavation work entails). Therefore, for Xinjiang to become the hub of the Belt and Road, this shortage has to be addressed through either policy-making or technological innovation.
Matrix’s AI technology offers a solution by replacing human workers with AI. This will guarantee the smooth operation of manufacturing, infrastructure building, energy generation and many other industries while significantly cutting down costs.
The cooperative project between Matrix and TBEA—the Unmanned Mine—is a good example of this. The combination of 5G, IoT, AI and robots allows us to run a completely unmanned coal mine. If successful, this pilot project will be promoted across the industry. Currently, Matrix’s part revolves around constructing the blockchain network for AI and data collecting.
The project started in mid-2020. It includes 1. a 5G+AI coal mine conveyor belt anomaly detection system; 2. a 5G+AI flame detection and warning system for mines; 3. a 5G+AI worksite supervision system; and 4. a 5G+AI machinery maintenance system. All four systems and ten core functional modules are 60% away from completion and to be delivered by early 2022.
Picture: The Dangerous Area Worker Detection and Warning Module Designed by Matrix for TBEA’s Unmanned Mine
Computing Power Grids
The transition to digitalized and smart manufacturing is a central goal of the Belt and Road. To achieve this, we need massive amounts of computing power and storage space. Cheap energy resources give Xinjiang an incomparable advantage in building computing power grids.
At the same time, under the pressure of the carbon neutrality trend, China is cracking down on Bitcoin mining. Home to the largest number of Bitcoin mining farms in China, Xinjiang is in a great position to take advantage of this crackdown to develop computing power grids.
Picture: Closed Mining Farm at Shihezi, Xinjiang Waiting to Be Taken over by Matrix
In its cooperative projects with large electric power companies (such as China Huadian, China Guodian, TBEA, etc.) in Xinjiang, Matrix will be providing AI solutions including smart power generation, predictive maintenance, etc. These companies will build their own computing centers and connect to Matrix’s distributed computing power platform. Matrix will also repurpose traditional crypto mining farms and join them into its platform to serve as computing power grids for the Belt and Road.
Picture: The Structure of Matrix’s Xinjiang Computing Power Grid
How Does This Benefit Matrix?
Besides the honor of contributing to the Belt and Road Initiative in Xinjiang, Matrix also stands to benefit in the following ways.
The Foundation of MANITO
MANITO (MAN Industry Tech Open-Platform) is one of the pillars of MATRIX 2.0. All the Belt and Road projects that Matrix participates in in Xinjiang can be adapted into services that will target clients in the manufacturing and energy industries in the future. These services will operate on Matrix’s computing power and require MAN for settlement. All this will mean more income for miners of Matrix AI Network and more liquidity for MAN.
Matrix’s Computing Power Distribution Platform
Matrix is actively participating in building computing power grids in Xinjiang. In the future, Matrix hopes to connect its mainnet to these grids, which will broaden the revenue streams for companies that have a part in constructing these grids and help them avoid resource waste by increasing temporary demand volatility tolerance. For Matrix, cheap electric power and the takeover of Bitcoin mining farms will benefit its ecosystem, as affordable computing power is at the core of Matrix 2.0.
Larger Market Share for MANAS and MANTA
Matrix will be trying to bring all its business partners in Xinjiang into its own ecosystem. These are mostly governmental corporations or listed companies of scale, and when they become clients of the AI services on MANAS and MANTA, the liquidity and value of MAN will receive an unprecedented boost.
Matrix’s endeavor to support the Belt and Road in Xinjiang will pave the way for the future success of the company in Central Asia and Europe.