The Made in China 2025 initiative brings equal opportunities to foreign and domestic enterprises and will strengthen the role of the market, the country's top industry regulator said in response to a suggestion by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China that the initiative creates uneven playing field.[Special Coverage]
The initiative, which was designed to promote high-end manufacturing in China, adheres to government-led, market-oriented principles, said Miao Wei, minister of Industry and Information Technology.
“Foreign and Chinese enterprises will continue to be treated equally. We have never forced foreign companies to transfer technology,” Miao said at a news conference on the sidelines of the annual plenary session of the National People's Congress.
The remarks followed a report by the EU business group saying the push to upgrade industry will give Chinese companies an unfair advantage.
Miao rebutted the allegation, saying entry policies in sectors such as new energy vehicles are applicable to both foreign and domestic businesses, and China's intent is to prevent companies from cheating on government subsidies.
The EU group said in an email to China Daily over the weekend that it welcomes the ministry's public commitment and will look at policies being put in place.
The Made in China 2025 initiative, unveiled in 2015, came into existence partly because foreign countries ban export to China of certain technologies and products.
Xiang Ligang, a telecom expert and CEO of the telecom industry website cctime.com, said, “China's market is so huge that foreign companies can all find a place. The initiative is unleashing big potential that everyone can tap into.”
When it comes to the shrinking market share of foreign companies in the telecom sector, Xiang said, it is because domestic companies are making steady progress and even outshining their foreign rivals in technology and services.
“It has nothing to do with government support,” he said.
Miao also rejected the claim that the government has set market-share targets for domestic products.
“The targets are not in the government's plan but in a greenpaper issued by a panel of expert consultants. The panel made it clear from the beginning that such targets are of predictive nature, not mandatory,” he said.
Fu Liang, an independent analyst, said foreign companies should step up localization efforts to pounce on the opportunity brought by Made in China 2025 initiative.
“The technology gap is narrowing. Foreign businesses should reconsider their core competency in China,” he said.