China’s industry needs more qualitative upgrading

10:00 by Hubert Fromlet, Kalmar

Western politicians and business representatives often point at the big future technological challenges that companies from their own country will face from Chinese competitors. This will come true in many cases but certainly not automatically. My long-time feeling remains in place: Western knowledge about China continues mostly to be too general.

China is such a giant county

My impression from many trips to China still is in place that certain academically oriented views from Chinese researchers may be relatively open and humble. This seems to be possible when the Chinese feel that their discussions with foreign colleagues can be conducted in a fair way, of course “fair” according to some kind of international scientific definition. This can even provoke critical economic standpoints about the future by the Chinese themselves which, for example, can be found in the following article

At a seminar in June 2021 industry experts said according to the above-quoted article that “… the industrial structure of China needs urgent transformation during which the country should establish an entire industry chain that moves limited resources to high-end industries…”. Without doubt, there is an insight that China should manage a qualitative upgrading as soon as possible – meaning that China should be able to include everything in terms of industry chains.

However, we should at the same time try to understand the large-scale dimensions of the necessary improvements/innovations of products and industry chains. So much must happen in the giant country of China to come up to relevant macroeconomic dimensions!

At least many Chinese themselves are aware of this phenomenon and necessity. They know that China will have to work very hard itself. There is no automatic success story.


Hubert Fromlet
Affiliate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University
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