Countermeasures to Accelerate the Formation of New Advantages in Manufacturing International Competition

Whether it is possible to achieve industrial upgrading and build a manufacturing industry with a certain scale and international competitiveness is the core of stable economic growth and the basic condition for ensuring the smooth transition of economic growth momentum. In recent years, China's industrial upgrading has progressed steadily. We should strive to grasp the period of global manufacturing development and change opportunities, focus on optimizing the business environment and market environment, maintain the global open pattern, promote the continuous upgrading of China's manufacturing industry, and strive to form new advantages in international competition.

In recent years, China's real economy development faces many challenges such as severe overcapacity, rising production costs, constrained resource and environmental constraints, and blocked technology introduction. Whether the industrial upgrading can be smoothly implemented and the manufacturing industry with certain scale and international competitiveness is the core of the stable growth of the economy, and the basic condition for ensuring the smooth transition of economic growth momentum.

From the international comparison, China's industrial upgrading is progressing steadily

Manufacturing is the core of the real economy. In the developed economies of the world, with the exception of a very small number of resource-based countries, both large and small countries have more or less globally competitive manufacturing sectors. For example, high-end lithography machines in the Netherlands, instruments and pharmaceuticals in Switzerland, the pharmaceutical industry in Singapore, communications and aviation in Sweden, the instrumentation and communications industry in Israel, and the communications industry in Finland.

As a global power, the development and upgrading of manufacturing industry is the basis for determining economic strength. Under the current situation of full development of global integration and deep integration and competition among countries, the position of a country's industry in the global value chain and the status of industrial upgrading will ultimately reflect whether the international competitiveness of products is steadily improving, especially in high-tech industries. Whether the competitiveness of the company is improved, it is necessary to examine the changes in industrial competitiveness from the perspective of global trade.

The development experience of many countries shows that the ability to continuously improve the position of the global value chain is the fundamental requirement for sustainable economic development, and industrial upgrading is a direct manifestation of improving the division of labor in the global value chain. From an international perspective, in recent years, China's real economy has undergone great progress in its transformation and upgrading.

In terms of the overall scale, in recent years, China’s share of goods exports has increased steadily, indicating that overall competitiveness is steadily increasing. Although China's manufacturing faces challenges such as rising labor costs and declining competitive advantages of low-cost, global trade has entered a period of low growth or even negative growth, but China's global trade share is generally on the rise. In 2012, China's exports accounted for 10.1% of the world's total. By 2015, China's total exports reached 2.23 trillion US dollars, accounting for 14.9% of the world's total exports. In 2016, it decreased, but in 2017 it rose to more than 14%.

In terms of low-end technology products, China’s international competitiveness has slightly decreased. Since 2012, developing countries such as India and Vietnam have benefited from low-cost advantages and industrial transfer, and have developed rapidly in low-end manufacturing. For example, Indonesia's total exports of low-end technology products increased from 21.6 billion US dollars in 2012 to 25.3 billion US dollars in 2016, an increase of 19.0%; in the same period, Vietnam's low-end technology products exports increased by 65.3%. In the same period of China, it was from 633.8 billion US dollars to 639.3 billion US dollars, with basically zero growth. However, in absolute terms, in 2016, the total exports of low-end technology products in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand were US$185.2 billion, only 29.0% of China. This shows that the low-end technology products of these countries have not yet formed a major challenge to China.

In terms of mid-end technology products, China’s international competitiveness has steadily increased. From 2012 to 2016, China's exports of mid-end technology products increased by 3.5%. Although the increase was small, other manufacturing powers were basically contracted during the same period. For example, the United States fell by 7.4 percentage points during the same period; Germany fell by 2.9 percentage points; Japan's decline reached 18.6%; and South Korea's exports of mid-range technology products also decreased by 6.5%.

In terms of high-end technology products, China’s international competitiveness has generally improved, but it is still unstable. From 2012 to 2016, China's total exports of high-end technology products increased from US$672.5 billion to US$680.6 billion, an increase of 1.2%. In the same period, the total exports of high-end technology products from the US, Germany, Japan and South Korea fell from US$767.2 billion to US$750.2 billion, a decrease of 2.2%. This shows that the competitiveness of China's high-end technology products has improved. It is worth noting that in 2016, compared with 2015, China's exports of high-end technology products dropped significantly by 7.7%, while the other four countries only fell by 0.9%. This shows that the competitiveness of China's high-end technology products is still not stable, and it is subject to external constraints such as intellectual property rights and key components.

Overall, since 2012, China's international competitiveness in low-end technology products has declined slightly, but the competitiveness of mid-end technology products has improved significantly, and high-end technology products have also improved. It should be said that China's industrial upgrading has made steady progress.

The global manufacturing development pattern is facing a major change

In the 21st century, the world has made a series of major breakthroughs in science and technology. Information technology, energy technology, new materials, Internet of Things, big data, robotics and cloud computing are maturing, and global manufacturing has entered a new round of industrial revolution. . The new round of industrial revolution has greatly changed the comparative advantages of manufacturing development, and has an important impact on the comparative advantages, division of labor and future development trends of global manufacturing.

First, the importance of labor quantity and labor cost is reduced, and the traditional industrial transfer model may be subverted. After the Second World War, the basic law of global industrial transfer was that developed countries shifted low-end manufacturing to less developed countries because of rising labor costs and the loss of comparative advantage in low-end industries. But the new round of industry has dramatically reduced the demand for labor through intelligent manufacturing technologies, especially low-cost intelligent robots that replace labor. This change has made it possible for China to continue to retain a considerable portion of labor-intensive industries, and it has also made it possible for developed countries to attract the return of low-end technology industries.

Second, the importance of industrial support and economies of scale has decreased, and the importance of innovation capability has become more prominent. The new round of industrial revolution has increased the flexibility of the production line, and the importance of product division and supporting capacity has declined. This has made it possible for small-scale countries to develop large industries that were previously difficult to develop. In addition, the speed of various new technologies has increased significantly. Traditional countries that have built up high-quality advantages in terms of stable work and craftsmanship, such as Japan and Germany, may gradually weaken their industrial competitiveness, and manufacturing will gather in the most innovative countries such as China and the United States.

Third, manufacturers are more personalized and more popular, and production companies will be closer to the consumer base. With the increasing demand for personalized consumers and the further development of flexible manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing and industrial Internet, the manufacturing industry is likely to gradually shift to the mode of local production, which is to spread to enterprises and market destinations. The importance of further increases. China, the United States, Europe, Japan and other economic powers or economic zones will benefit, and a populous country like India may also benefit (but will be constrained by its income level and spending power), and the decentralization of production will further promote regional integration and The development of trade liberalization.

Combining the above three effects, in the short term, on the one hand, the speed of global manufacturing transfer to developing countries will slow down, and China's manufacturing will remain competitive for a longer period of time; on the other hand, global manufacturing will return to developed countries. There will be more and more phenomena, showing the characteristics of “downward extension” of developed countries’ industries. In the long run, the global manufacturing division will be closer and closer to the consumption base, and the consumption scale of each country will become an important factor in determining the scale of manufacturing.

Starting from three aspects, promoting the continuous upgrading of China's manufacturing industry

At present, we should firmly grasp the period of strategic opportunities for global manufacturing reform, promote the continuous upgrading of China's manufacturing industry, and strive to form new advantages in international competition.

First, optimizing the business environment and reducing the burden for enterprises to strengthen services is an important means to further enhance industrial competitiveness. As China's traditional low-cost advantage is weakened, especially in the face of US-led tax reduction competition, China must further reduce the burden of corporate taxes and fees, and let enterprises lightly meet the competition. In addition, it is necessary to strengthen the government's service to enterprises, especially to provide a series of institutional environment that is conducive to the innovation drive of enterprises.

Second, vigorously improve the market environment and strengthen the cultivation of consumers' confidence in domestic products, which is the core of exerting the driving force of demand and stimulating industrial upgrading. In the three links of “enterprise”, “market” and “final consumer”, China’s “enterprise” has strong vitality and competitiveness, “consumer” has an urgent need for upgrading, and “market” is currently The most prominent short board. At present, there is an urgent need to substantially increase the government's investment in the quality inspection of goods, widely adopting new means such as the Internet to publicly and comprehensively and effectively disclose the quality information of goods, and increase the protection of consumer rights and interests, and shift from “enterprise priority” to “market priority” in the market supervision. The concept of “customer priority” fully creates the market environment for consumers to “buy at ease” and exerts the role of China’s huge market scale in the real economy.

   The third is to further increase the pace of opening up to the outside world, which is the pressure and incentive for the upgrading of the real economy. Practices since the reform and opening up have proved that China's manufacturing industry is not afraid of competition, and competition is conducive to the upgrading and development of the industry. Therefore, China must adhere to the pace of opening up, especially the opening of the service industry. Only by further opening up can we adapt to the upgrading trend of service-oriented manufacturing and better promote the development of the real economy.