Advanced manufacturing tops agenda
More efforts urged for breakthroughs in high-end fields and core tech
China's emphasis on developing advanced manufacturing is expected to enhance the resilience of its industrial and supply chains, boost the country's core competitiveness globally, and lay a solid foundation for long-term economic growth, said experts and business executives.
They called for accelerated efforts to achieve breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields, given that upgrading the manufacturing sector has been high on China's development agenda as a requirement for bolstering the real economy.
Their comments come on the heels of Premier Li Qiang's call for a big push to develop advanced manufacturing, advance high-end manufacturing and accelerate construction of a modern industrial system.
Li made the remarks during an inspection tour and at a symposium on the development of the advanced manufacturing industry in Hunan province from Tuesday to Wednesday.
Noting the real economy, especially the manufacturing sector, is the foundation of China's economy, he called for efforts to promote the transformation and upgrade of the traditional manufacturing sector, and to advance the development of strategic emerging industries.
"Advanced manufacturing is playing an increasingly crucial role in bolstering technological innovation, advancing new industrialization and fostering high-quality development," said Li Xianjun, an associate researcher at the Institute of Industrial Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
He said the country's emphasis on the real economy and the development of advanced manufacturing through intelligent digital technologies will help make China's economy more resilient, strengthen the capacity to buffer against external risks and shocks and build the country into a manufacturing powerhouse.
More efforts should be made to achieve greater self-reliance and strength in science and technology, and tackle bottleneck issues in core technologies in fields like basic materials and software, precision components, integrated circuits and high-end equipment, Li Xianjun said.
China's manufacturing sector has maintained growth momentum amid challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and a complicated external environment.
Data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed that China accounted for nearly 30 percent of global manufacturing output in 2021, up from 22.5 percent in 2012.
Pan Helin, co-director of the Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Center at Zhejiang University's International Business School, underlined the significance of stepping up support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and further optimizing the business environment, given that enterprises have played a prominent part in driving technological innovation.
It is important to push the manufacturing sector toward the higher-end, smarter and greener production, Pan said, emphasizing talent is key to promoting high-quality development of manufacturing.
Chinese tech companies should strive harder to achieve breakthroughs in key, core and cutting-edge technologies by investing more in basic research and strategic, forward-looking fields to safeguard the stability and safety of industrial chains, he said.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China's industrial output, a key economic indicator, rose 3.6 percent year-on-year in 2022, as the country's industrial production continued to rebound steadily. Notably, the output of high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing segments soared 7.4 percent and 5.6 percent year-on-year, respectively, last year.
"The high-tech manufacturing segment has become an important driver of China's high-quality economic development," said Li Dongsheng, founder and chairman of consumer electronics maker TCL Technology Group Corp in an earlier interview, adding promoting technological innovation and increasing capital input are crucial for the growth of the high-tech manufacturing segment.
China's manufacturers should transition from exporting products to exporting industrial capacities, ramp up localized operations abroad and avoid trade barriers to enhance their global competitiveness, he said.
The high-quality development of China's manufacturing sector has entered a fast lane, buoyed by digital technologies like cloud computing, big data, the internet of things and blockchain, said Zhou Yunjie, chairman and CEO of Chinese home appliance giant Haier Group.