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Introduction : New China’s industry had very little to start with. In 1949 it had accumulated only 12.4 billion yuan in fixed assets, and industrial products were very few: the output of yarn was 327,000 tons, and that of raw coal 32 million tons. Most finished industrial products were imported at that time.

After the founding of New China in 1949, the Chinese government started construction on a large and planned scale. As a result, the country’s industrial foundation has been strengthened and its production level raised rapidly. The metallurgical, mining and energy industries, airplane and automobile industries, and the new industries, including petrochemicals, computers, telecommunication equipment, instruments and meters, and aeronautics have been built up from nothing. Since 1978, the policies of reform and opening to the outside world have enabled China’s industry to enter a stage of great innovation and development. From 1978 to 1999, China’s industry increased at an average rate of 11.1 percent every year, and the comprehensive industrial strength was remarkably enhanced. By 1999, some 3,535.7 billion yuan of industrial added value had been attained, an increase of 10.2 times over 1978.

Increases in Output of Major Industrial Products

 Product  Unit  1952  1978  1999
 Raw Coal  100 million tons  0.66  6.18  10.45
 Crude Oil  10,000 tons  44  10,405  16,000
 Generated energy  100 million kwh  73  2,566  12,393
 Seel  10,000 tons  135  3,178  12,426
 Cement  10,000 tons  286  6,524  57,300
 Tractors  10,000  -  11.35  6.54
 Automobiles  10,000  -  14.91  185.00
 Color TV Sets  10,000  -  0.38  4,262
 Chemical Fibers  10,000 tons  -  28.46  600
 Yarn  10,000 tons  65.6  238.2  567
 Cloth  100 million meters  38.3  110.3  250
 Sugar  10,000 tons  45  227  861
 Sulphuric acid  10,000 tons  19  661  2,356
 Fertilizer  10,000 tons  3.9  869.3  3,251
 Pesticide  10,000 tons  0.2  53.3  62.5
 Integrated circuits  100 million  -  -  41.5
 Program-controlled exchanges  10,000 lines  -  -  4,726
 Mobile telecom equipment  10,000 sets  -  -  3,203
 Micro-computers  10,000 sets  -  -  405

China’s industrial reform first began by giving more rights to and leaving more profits for enterprises, extending enterprises’ independent operations and practicing the enterprise contract responsibility system, which fully mobilized the initiative and creativeness of enterprises and their workers and staff members, and created an excellent environment forthe improvement of the operation mechanism of enterprises. Next, China speeded up its industrialization through the introduction of foreign capital and opening to the outside world.

The establishment of large numbers of Sino-foreign joint and wholly foreign-owned enterprises has not only brought more capital to enterprises, but also advanced equipment and modernized management. Through 21 years of reform, China’s industry has got rid of the backwardness in which it could only make one or a few varieties of products and its technological level was low. The production level of industrial products has increased by a big margin. In 1999, the outputs of steel, raw coal, electricity and cement were 124 million tons, 1.045 billion tons, 1,239.3 billion kwh and 573 million tons-increases of 3.9 times, 69 percent, 4.8 and 8.8 times over 1978, respectively. The growth rates of chemical fibers, fertilizers, ethylene, plastics, plate glass and other important means of production products have doubled or more than doubled. Many consumer goods closely related to people’s lives have grown from zero and expanded from small to large, the growth rate of some products has even reached more than one hundred times, such as color TV sets, refrigerators, washing machines, air-conditioners, cameras, video recorders, VCD and DVD sets, and stereos. A number of new- and high-technology products have grown by leaps and bounds, such as stored-program-controlled switching systems, large-scale integrated circuits and micro-electronic computers. The output of cars is also increasing at a rapid rate, along with the increasing number of cars possessed by households.

The reform of state industrial enterprises, especially large and medium-sized enterprises, is the constant focus of China’s economic system reform. At present, in accordance with the principles of the modern enterprise system-“the property rights and responsibilities of enterprises will be clearly defined, the functions of the government separated from those of enterprises and enterprises scientifically managed”-strategic reorganization has been carried out in large and medium-sized enterprises to transform them into standard companies. In recent years a large number of enterprise groups have been set up through annexation during the re-organization of enterprises, such as the China Petroleum and Natural Gas Group, Shanghai Baoshan Iron and Steel Group, and some household appliance industrial groups, for instance, Changhong, Haier, Konka, Kelon and TCL. The Legend and Founder of Beijing University groups are prominent in the micro-computer industry. These groups take part not only in domestic but also international competition.

Though China has made rapid progress in industry, irrational structure within industries and unbalanced development in regional economies still exist. The reform of state enterprises has just been started, and the tasks are arduous. Facing the 21st century, China will quicken its steps in restructuring industry and establishing its new-type industrial system as fast as it can, to suit the development of socialist market economy.

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Electronic Information Industry

Since 1978, China’s electronic information industry has been advancing at a high speed, having far-reaching and favorable influence on other branches of the national economy. Computers, software and telecommunications are the three major parts of China’s information industry. By 1999, the total scale of the information industry was at the top international level. The output of color TV sets, sound equipment and telephones had leaped to first place in the world; the total sales income of the electronic information industry had reached 430 billion yuan, with 39 billion US dollars in export value. Chinese computer groups represented by Legend and Founder of Beijing University are not only the leaders in the domestic market, their products have also entered markets in Southeast Asia and Japan. At the same time, with remarkable market potential, computer software Chinese computer groups represented by Legend and Founder of Beijing University are not only the leaders in the omestic market, their products have also entered markets in Southeast Asia and Japan. At the same time, with remarkable market potential, computer software development and information services are also developing well in recent years. Currently, finance, posts and telecommunications, science and technology, education, business activities and government institutions in China all have their own network systems and data bases connected with the Internet. So far, China has 8.9 million Internet users. In 1999, Beijing opened a 45-megampere international exit, which made the total bandwidth of international exit of China’s electronic information 130 megamperes. As the industry developed most rapidly since the reform and opening to the outside world, telecommunications manufacturing kept an over-30-percent development speed during the Eighth Five-Year Plan period. China has completed various public telecommunication networks throughout the country and linked with the rest of the world, including optical-fibre, digital microwave, satellite communication, program-controlled exchange, and mobile and data communication.

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Heavy Industry

China’s heavy industry includes the energy, iron and steel, machinery and chemical industries. In 1999, the added value produced by heavy industry in state-owned enterprises and industrial enterprises above a certain scale amounted to 1,161.7 billion yuan. Among coal, petroleum and electric power, coal is the major energy source. Large coalfields include Datong in Shanxi, Kailuan in Hebei, Pingdingshan in Henan, Huaibei in Anhui, Yanzhou in Shandong, Xuzhou in Jiangsu, Jixi in Heilongjiang, and Tiefa in Liaoning-16 in all. In recent years, along with the restructuring of the industrial system, the economic growth in coal enterprises has reflected their change to the intensive type; at the same time diversified operations have developed rapidly. Now, key coal mines in China have set up 17,000 diversified-operation enterprises, the output value of which exceeds half of the total coal output value.

The petroleum industry is distributed mainly in the Daqing Oilfield in Heilongjiang and Liaohe Oilfield in Liaoning, Shengli Oilfield in Shandong, Huabei Oilfield in Hebei and Dagang Oilfield in Tianjin. In recent years, three basins rich in oil deposits have been discovered in Tarim, Turpan-Hami, and Junggar basins. In addition to many large onshore oil and natural gas operations, a number of offshore operations are continuing in the Bohai Sea, and the east and west of the South China Sea.

Two newly-organized groups-the China Petroleum and Natural Gas Group and the China Petrochemicals Group-are the largest groups of their kind. The latter, whose business income in 1996 was 38.9 billion US dollars, ranks 62nd among the 500 strongest conglomerates in the world.

China’s energy industry, including thermal, hydro and nuclear power, has developed rapidly. In the 1990s, China’s installed capacity developed from 100 million kw to 200 million kw, and its generated energy and installed capacity both ranked second in the world. There are 58 large hydropower stations, which have been completed or are under construction in China, and 19 of them have more than one million kw of installed capacity each. The Ertan, Xiaolangdi and Yangtze River Three-Gorge hydropower stations, the Lianyungang and Ling’ao nuclear power engineering projects are under construction. The Qinshan Nuclear Power Station in Zhejiang and Dayawan Nuclear Power Station in Guangdong have been completed. The power grids of the country now cover all the cities and most of its rural areas.

Large iron and steel enterprises are distributed in Anshan, Taiyuan, Baotou, Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Wuhan and Panzhihua. China at present has 24 iron and steel enterprises which produce one million tons or more of steel annually each, among them, the Shanghai Baoshan Iron and Steel Group being newly organized. Some large iron and steel enterprises use advanced technologies and have improved their equipment to produce a number of types of high-class steel, such as cold-rolled steel plates, cold-rolled silicon steel sheets, zinc-plated steel plates and steel pipes. Today, China has the capacity to produce 1,400 varieties of steel to more than 20,000 specifications. In addition, China’s self-sufficiency in rolled steel has reached 90 percent.

China’s machine-building industry manufactures farm machinery, engineering machinery, instruments and meters, general machinery, heavy mining machinery, machine tools, electrical engineering equipment, bearings, master tools, food-packing machinery and automobiles. Through the introduction, digestion and absorption of high technology, a number of top-technology industries representing today’s advanced industrial development level have developed rapidly and formed initial production scales. For instance, in the automobile industry, the Changchun First Automobile Group and Shanghai Automobile Industry Group have introduced technologies from Germany’s Volkswagen Company to manufacture sedans. The machine-building industry is capable of providing other industries with complete sets of high-level equipment, including large blast furnaces, large continuous slab and billet casters, electricity generators, coal mining equipment, petroleum prospecting equipment, oil drills, oil-refining plants, chemical plants, float-glass production lines and other complete sets of equipment. China’s mechanical and electrical products, which have become pillars of China’s export trade, generated 77 billion US dollars in foreign exchange in 1999.

China’s chemical industry includes chemical extraction, and production of fertilizers, pesticides, basic inorganic raw materials, basic organic raw materials, synthetic fiber monomers, synthetic rubber, photosensitive materials, rubber products, plastic products, petrochemicals, chemicals for household use and pharmaceuticals-more than 40,000 kinds in all. Now China is among world leaders in terms of the output of more than 10 varieties of chemicals, such as synthetic ammonia, chemical fertilizers, sulphuric acid, soda ash and rubber tyres. Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian and Shenyang are China’s most important chemical industry bases. China is self-sufficient in chemical products, and exports such products to more than 100 countries and regions.

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Aeronautics and Astronautics

China’s aeronautics and astronautics industry was established in the 1950s. At Xi’an, Shanghai, Shenyang and Chengdu, respectively, there are four large airplane manufacturing bases, capable of producing civilian and military aircraft. The “Yun 7” airliner produced by the Xi’an Aircraft Corporation has become the major type used for medium and short domestic flights. Since 1979, the China Aerospace Corporation has established trade, economic and technical cooperation relationships with more than 70 countries and regions, one after another, in various forms. It has exported airplanes, engines and airborne installations to several countries, and manufactured airplanes and engine components for foreign factories and business people. With a complete system encompassing research, design, trial manufacture, testing and production, China’s astronautics industry is capable of developing various types of carrier rockets, and developing and launching all kinds of satellites. Moreover, an aerospace instrumentation and command system has been established. Now among the world's leaders insatellite research and launching, China has mastered all kinds of technologies, including satellite recovery, the launching of satellites with single carrier rockets, satellite survey and control, and strong-propulsion carrier rocket trussing. China is capable of launching remote-sensing satellites into near-earth orbit and earth-synchronous orbit, and meteorological satellites into sun- synchronous or.bit. It is also capable of providing satellite launching and monitoring and control services for foreign countries. On November 20, 1999 the first spacecraft, named “Shenzhou,” developed by China was launched by a China-made carrier rocket, and returned to earth after fulfilling space science experiments. According to statistics, between 1970 and 1999, China’s Long March series carrier rockets successfully launched 51 satellites (excluding those lanched by China for foreign countries).

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Light and Textile Industries

Light industry in China includes 40-odd sectors, including paper-making, daily-use mechanical devices, salt production, foodstuffs, silicates for household use, plastics, electro-optical sources, household chemical products, metal products, household appliances, and leathers and furs—a total of more than 300,000 varieties. Since the introduction of the policies of reform and opening to the outside world, with a high market orientation level, light industrial enterprises have accelerated the pace of introduction of foreign investment and advanced technologies. As a result, household consumption has become abundant, and many famous-brand and high-quality products have appeared on the market. The textile industry is developing rapidly, satisfying not only the domestic needs but also entering the international market. In 1999, the added value of the light and textile industries reached 869 billion yuan.

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  Information provided by China National Tourism Administration.


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