British firms eye opportunities as China updates manufacturing

May 10, 2016 5:21 am 

BEIJING, May 9 — British firms have much to offer and much to gain from China's plan to modernize its manufacturing sector, according to a report.

The "Made in china 2025" plan is a highly ambitious initiative to comprehensively upgrade, consolidate and balance China's manufacturing industry, and it offers plenty of opportunities for British firms, a recent report released by the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) said.

"We see the next stage of China's emergence as an economic superpower in its ambition to design and make the products of the future required not only by the Chinese consumer, but consumers around the world," said Mark Wareing, Director of Advanced Manufacturing and Transport with UK Trade and Investment china at the British Embassy in China.

China's State Council announced "Made in China 2025" in May 2015 as a national initiative to improve the manufacturing industry, initially up to 2025 and then to 2035 and 2049.

The goal is to transform China into a leading manufacturing power, and 50 pilot projects were already launched across China in 2015.

The plan focuses on 10 priority sectors, including advanced rail and equipment, aviation and aerospace equipment, agricultural machinery and technology, power equipment and technology and new generation information technology.

"Made in China 2025 is a truly exciting strategy and it is fantastic to see how closely the skills, experience and capability of the UK's industrial base align with China's ambitions," said Wareing.

China is already Britain's second largest single export destination with exports of 18.7 billion pounds (27 billion U.S.dollars), of which 15.5 billion pounds are manufactured goods, demonstrating the importance of manufacturing to the UK economy, Wareing pointed out.

The plan also prioritizes five nationwide initiatives with clear objectives to establish new innovation centers, research bases, implement smart manufacturing projects, green manufacturing projects and prioritize high-end equipment manufacturing.

UK firms have much to offer in these areas due to their R&D and innovation credentials in industry and education, according to Stephen Phillips, Chief Executive with CBBC.

Phillips pointed out that opportunities will exist throughout China. In fact, most provinces and cities have already published action plans for local implementation.

"While we see tremendous opportunity, we also recognize that there will be challenges such as IP protection, oversupply and over-investment, pace of change and favoring of indigenous innovation among others," said Phillips.

UK companies may also need to review their ability to react to the sheer pace of change in some industries to provide solutions for fast growing Chinese players, the report added. (PNA/Xinhua)

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