Next wave of industry to fuel China’s growth
Singapore, 10 September 2014 —China today faces an inflection point: the ingredients that propelled its rapid expansion and unprecedented development over the past 30 years won’t fuel its expansion over the next three decades. Instead, China faces an opportunity to transition to a new wave of prosperity.
In order to move up the “value chain,” it must evolve from relatively commoditized manufacturing and lower-skilled assembly to a more innovation-based economy, which includes design, logistics, financial and business services, high-tech industries and life sciences. This is according to Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s (“Deloitte Global”) latest competitiveness report, Competitiveness: Catching the next wave in China.
“There is no question that China’s economic transformation over the last three decades has been remarkable,” says Gary Coleman, Deloitte Global Managing Director for Industries. “To grow to even greater heights, China today must embrace new sectors and strategies for growth, as well as build a culture of innovation, in order to maintain its comparative advantage.”
The report maintains that in order to thrive amidst today’s global economic challenges, China must transition from labor- and capital-intensive activities to those that utilize knowledge, innovation, design, IT sciences, software, and marketing. The sectors driving China’s “next wave” of growth should focus on more specialized and innovative production:
- Aerospace: Currently a small percentage of the nation’s manufacturing industry, aerospace has been identified as a high-priority sector in China’s growth plans. With government support, China has the potential to develop a viable aircraft industry, and could very well become a significant player in the aviation sector which has been dominated by U.S. manufacturers.
- High-value machinery and components: China is likely to become a regional hub for machinery production. Similarly, a shift in electronics components has caused a rapid increase in trade of higher-tech products and components.
- Life sciences: The domestic market for drugs and medical devices is rapidly expanding within the Chinese life sciences industry. With government support and rising investments from foreign pharmaceutical firms into research & development, China is positioned to become an important player by 2025—and potentially transform the dynamics of this industry globally.
- Mobile technology: Now the world’s largest consumer of mobile phones, Chinese subscribers grew from 7 percent in 2000 to nearly 90 percent in 2013. Chinese innovation in mobile gaming, communications, e-commerce, and shopping software and services holds enormous potential to boost the nation’s competitiveness and spur new mobile-specific industries.
- Internet e-tailing and social media: Online sales in China accounted for approximately six percent of all retail purchases in 2012 worldwide–higher than in the United States. The expansion of e-commerce sites into other business sectors, such as financial services, paves the way for additional growth opportunities within China’s economy.
- Logistics and other services: Shifting to innovative and specialized manufacturing creates opportunities for companies to capture new value in the aftermarket for goods after production. Adding cloud computing and data analytics to business practices has tremendous potential to propel the distribution sector to one of the fasting-growing industries over the next two decades.
- Health services: As China’s population begins to age and cultural standards evolve, the government continues to expand its investment in healthcare. Construction of urban hospitals and rural clinics, along with an increase in state-funded healthcare delivery, could contribute to expenditures of US$1 trillion by 2020, or equivalent to nearly 7 percent of GDP.
- Education services: Education is a top government priority and critical to China's economic development. Alongside companies opening private universities for their employees, annual government investment in education of about US$250 billion should help expand access to education, and boost the quality of the education system and its ability to support China's transition toward a more services-based economy.
- Energy: China’s rapid growth and development has created a demand for more innovative and environmentally-friendly energy policies. This demand is creating opportunities for China to address growing ambient air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while fueling economic growth.
The report also discusses the role of government and its revamping of economic policies. Among these is the opening up of markets to increased foreign investment—critical to China’s continued growth trajectory and its ability to take its place on the world stage as an important trade partner and global leader.
"We have witnessed a 7.5 percent growth in China’s GDP in 2Q2014 where almost half of the GDP increase was driven by government stimulus of raised fixed asset investment to spur economic growth. This stimulus has also made a positive boost to goods-producing and service industries which are both important for China to sustain transformation and economic progress in the next century," says Dr Ernest Kan, Chief-of-Operations for Clients & Markets, Deloitte Singapore who also heads the Chinese Services Group for Deloitte Southeast Asia.
"Our established Chinese Services Group network across the region has helped many companies across different industry sectors to overcome the difficulties of transformation to realise the gains through Deloitte’s Industries Programme. This report reaffirms the critical need of building a culture of innovation and stimulates thought-provoking sentiments for businesses to catch the next wave in China," added Dr Kan.