Last week’s ARCwire carried a news item about Ethernet/IP, a technology from ODVA that tries to be competitive with PROFINET. The item talks about Ethernet/IP becoming a “machinery industry standard” in China. What it does not say is that this is the entry level on the standards path in China. It is called JB, where J stands for industry or sector and B stands for standard. Before a standard can become a national standard it must first be an industry standard. The national standard is GB (G for National, B for Standard). There are three levels within GB – GB/Z, GB/T, and GB/Q. Z is a guideline, T stands for promotion, and Q is for mandatory and applies to some safety standards. T is the highest level for non-safety related standards. PROFIBUS is in the category GB/T (to be published before year end) and PROFINET is GB/Z. So, while Ethernet/IP (and ControlNet, too) are in the beginning stages of adoption in China, both PROFIBUS and PROFINET are Chinese national standards already.