Leaping into the First Echelon
China strives to rise globally through a massive manufacturing overhaul
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UPDATED: April 20, 2015 NO. 17 APRIL 23, 2015
Manufacturing Better Outcomes

The State Council, China's cabinet, unveiled the Made in China 2025 program in March, which lays out a plan to upgrade the country's manufacturing capabilities over the coming decade. The program constitutes the first of China's three 10-year plans for building itself into a manufacturing powerhouse.

As Made-in-China products saturate markets around the globe, the Chinese Government hopes to further strengthen China's manufacturing prowess under the guidance of policy in order for the country to achieve general industrialization by 2025.

Such a goal is apposite given the realities China now faces. Despite its massive output, China's manufacturing sector is far from dominant, with the majority of core and cutting-edge technologies being created in developed Western countries. The country, therefore, needs to grow itself into a manufacturing power, an initiative that has bearing on both its national strategy and the social and economic development needs.

The present spate of technological revolution and industrial transformation in the world will put wind in the sails of the aforementioned initiative, which centers around smart production, the Internet of Things and big data technologies and prioritizes the researching, development and use of new materials and new energy sources.

Efforts to bolster China's manufacturing strength will concentrate on the integration of IT application and industrialization. In the State Council's plan, 10 areas of focus are singled out, with information technology taking the top spot in terms of significance.

These areas represent the core niches with regard to both contemporary and future technological progress and constitute the key to China becoming a manufacturing force to be reckoned with in the modern age.

China, however, faces strong competition from developed countries in the process of increasing its manufacturing competence. Germany, for example, has already brought forth the Industry 4.0 strategy in a bid to fuel innovation and foster new stimulus for growth. Whether or not China will be able to catch up with advanced countries in the manufacturing sector depends not only on the sound implementation of the Made in China 2025 initiative but also progress made in China's industrial upgrading over the next few years. At present, some traditional industries remain the main source of revenue for certain local governments. The issue of how to upgrade these industries is a matter requiring careful deliberation by the government.

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