Why Beijing will push the 'Made in China 2025' plan

April 27, 2015 16:12
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (standing, foreground) has called for an improvement in the quality of products made in China. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese authorities are set to unveil more supportive policies following the recent first-quarter GDP data, which showed economic growth at its weakest level in six years.

Among other initiatives, Beijing is likely to roll out a blueprint for the so-called "Made in China 2025” strategy, which will include a three-step action plan to upgrade the nation's manufacturing sector.

Under the Made in China 2025 strategy, China will become the world's largest manufacturer by 2025. That means, the nation will have ten years to catch up with leading manufacturing powers like Germany and Japan.

The new blueprint will set sight on domestic and global economic development and industry evolvement trends. It will not only help upgrade traditional manufacturing sectors, but also focus on new technology and high-end innovations.

Currently, China still lags behind other global manufacturing giants like Germany and the US.

As a study released by the Chinese Academy of Engineering has pointed out, the nation's manufacturing sector is facing enormous challenges amid evolving new technologies and industrial reforms across the world.

Developed economies have their own edge, and emerging economies have to catch up. This poses some challenges for Beijing.

In fact, China's manufacturing industry has three major issues. The first issue is lack of innovation. Second is weakness in core technologies. And lastly, excessive energy consumption and severe pollution.

Therefore, the ambitious Made in China 2025 strategy will focus on these three areas, and beef up the competitiveness accordingly.

According to the three-step action plan, the nation will rank among the world's top manufacturing powers in the next decade. By 2045, it will become the leading manufacturing power, consolidating its might before the nation celebrates in 2049 the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic.

The strategy has put forward nine tasks, ten fields to be developed with significance, and five key projects. The ten fields include the new-generation information and communications technology, high-tech numerically controlled machine tools and robotics, and biomedical industry.

As for the nine tasks, they are: (1) improving the national innovation capability of the manufacturing industry; (2) advancing the deep integration of informatization and industrialization; (3) strengthening industrial foundations; (4) ensuring quality and building up brands; (5) promoting green manufacturing; (6) making breakthroughs in key sectors; (7) pushing forward the restructuring of the manufacturing industry; (8) developing service-oriented manufacturing and producer services; (9) and propelling the internationalization of China's manufacturing industry.

Meanwhile, the five projects -- which will involve intelligent manufacturing -- are construction of innovation centers, intelligent transformation, industrial foundation improvement, green manufacturing and high-end equipment innovation.

There will be more detailed guidelines following the blueprint. And the Made in China 2025 strategy will focus on setting specific targets and tasks for the first decade.

Beijing will utilize all its resources to push the plan, which will become a dominant market theme for next one or two decades.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 27.

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version中文版]

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Senior investment banker