Yet, all this is supposed to change with the new five-year plan: The concept of “Made in China 2025” shall turn the country from the extended workbench of the world into a hotspot for innovation and invention. The authors have five main project goals for the industry in China:
- creation of national innovation centres for the industry;
- intelligent manufacturing and smart processes;
- diversification of value creation;
- “Green” production;
- high-end facilities.
These strategic fields are supposed to be implemented in ten industry branches first, from the aerospace industry to chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
The political leadership is paying special attention to the basic chemicals and petrochemicals industry. After all, this branch lays the foundations for economic development as both a raw materials supplier and a hotbed for innovation.
Still the annual growth rate of the chemicals industry (recently 15 % in a current market of RMB 300 billion, or about € 400 billion) is double as much as the total Chinese economy. Further, 40 % of the chemicals used in China are imported, in some high-tech branches even more than 90 %.
Dawn of a New Age
No wonder that “new materials and commodities” are only one of the ten points of the “Made in China” agenda. “China’s economy will grow much more slowly in the future than it has in the past 20 years. Nevertheless, China is still an important industrial location which is growing dynamically in international comparison. That is how the demand for chemicals will grow”, Henrik Meincke, head economist of the German Chemical Industry association VCI, says.
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