China’s manufacturing value-added ranks first in the world for 11 years

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Vehicles
A large batch of vehicles are parked at the Yantai port, east China's Shandong province, before being shipped overseas, Sept. 13, 2021. (Photo by Tang Ke/People's Daily Online)

By Wang Zheng

China has maintained its position as the world’s largest manufacturing hub for 11 straight years, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the global manufacturing output, said Xiao Yaqing, minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), at a press conference on Sept. 13.

China boasts the most comprehensive industrial system in the world. More than 40 percent of the outputs of Chinese-manufactured products rank the top of the world among 500 major industrial goods.

From 2012 to 2020, the value-added industrial output in China expanded from 20.9 trillion yuan to 31.3 trillion yuan. In particular, that in the manufacturing sector grew from 16.98 trillion yuan to 26.6 trillion yuan, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the global manufacturing output, up from 22.5 percent.

The international competitiveness of China’s manufacturing sector has been significantly improved. According to MIIT statistics, China enjoys a comprehensive modern industrial system comprising 41 large industrial categories, 207 medium ones and 666 small ones, thus it is the only country in the world that has all the industrial categories based on the industrial classification of the UN.

Last year, China was the world’s largest producer of over 220 types of industrial products. It was leading the world in major industries such as photovoltaic power generation, new energy vehicle, home appliance and smart phone, and a batch of Chinese high-end brands in the communication and high-speed rail industries made their names globally. Seventy-three Chinese industrial enterprises made it into the latest Fortune Global 500 list, 28 more than those in 2012, which explains the increasingly expanding influence of “made in China” products in the global industrial and supply chains.

The innovation capability of the manufacturing sector has been greatly enhanced. The country has made continuous success in major projects, including the Chang’e-5 lunar probe, the Tianwen-1 mars probe, the deep-sea manned submersible Fendouzhe, and the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. In 2020, the number of R&D departments of industrial enterprises above designated size, or those with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan each, as well as their expenditure doubled from those in 2012, and the number of valid patent applications surged two-fold. As China becomes a top-notch producer in the ultra-high voltage power transmission, large excavation equipment, coal chemical equipment, and metallic nanoparticles material sectors, the country is turning from a manufacturer to a creator.

China’s manufacturing industry experienced accelerated structural upgrading. High-tech manufacturing accounted for 15.1 percent of the value-added industrial output created by enterprises above designated size last year, up from 9.4 percent in 2012, while the proportion of equipment manufacturing in the total value added of the industrial enterprises above designated size increased from 28 percent to 33.7 percent during the same period.

Technical upgrading accounted for 47.1 percent of the total industrial investment, and new technologies, materials, equipment and techniques were widely applied. The ratio of the revenue created by new products of enterprises above designated size to their major business income was improved to around 20 percent.

Digitalization of the manufacturing industry speeded up. China has built the world’s largest fiber optic and mobile communication networks. Its 5G base stations and connected terminals account for over 70 percent and 80 percent of the world’s total. Last year, 52.1 percent of the key procedures of major industries realized numerical control, up from 24.6 percent in 2012, and the application of digitalized designing tools rose from 48.8 percent to 73 percent during the same period. The digital economy is a powerful engine driving the sustained and healthy socio-economic development.

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