China Market Watch: Plans to Become a Leading Auto Manufacturer, Statistics Bureau to Combat Fake Data

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China’s plans to become a leading auto manufacturer by 2025

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has released an auto industry development plan, which aims to make China a leading auto making powerhouse in a decade. It will do so by encouraging the development of new energy vehicles and relaxing restrictions on foreign ownership in the auto industry. The plan also sets out to make key technologies and markedly increase the share of Chinese brands in the international auto market by 2025.

Though China is currently the world’s largest automobile market, it is still behind many large markets in terms of innovation, core technology, parts manufacturing, and brand development. The plan recognizes this, remarking that China’s industry is “large but not strong”.

The plan emphasized new energy vehicles (NEVs) as a means to advance the industry and close the gap with competitors, with sales of NEVs set to account for over 20 percent of overall automobile sales by 2025.

Excavator market a barometer for public-private partnership projects

The State Council considers the excavator market a barometer for the level of infrastructure construction and public-private partnership (PPP) projects in China, as reported by Yicai Global.

Excavator sales were slow up until September 2016, when sales spiked by 71 percent year-on-year. Sales rose by 55 percent in March over the previous year, and by almost 99 percent for the January-March period, according to the China Construction Machinery Association.

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A surge in infrastructure investment by the Chinese government has driven the boom in excavator sales. The Chinese government often uses PPP projects as a means of raising capital to fund its infrastructure programs.

Many analysts consider the government’s large infrastructure investments a key reason China witnessed a faster than expected 6.9 percent growth rate in the first quarter of 2017. However, despite a recent tax relief package, economists expect China’s growth rate to slow in the second half of the year.

China’s statistics bureau sets up arm to combat fake data

The National Bureau of Statistics has set up a special supervisory arm to combat fake data in China’s statistics apparatus. Many question the veracity of China’s economic statistics due to the speed and uniformity of data, and mismatches with other economic indicators.

Earlier this year, the governor of northeastern Liaoning province conceded that the province had faked its fiscal data by at least 20 percent from 2011 to 2014. In 2016, Liaoning’s GDP contracted by 2.2 percent, a far cry from the 8.7 percent growth reported in 2013.

The new supervisory arm is one of several measures introduced by the central government to improve the quality of its data, such as reducing reliance on regional governments to collect statistics. On April 25, the former head of the National Bureau of Statistics was indicted on corruption charges.


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