China's industry policies unaffected by challenges
‘Made in China 2025’ industries anchor of future economic growth
Published: Sep 18, 2018 07:28 PM

Headwinds and challenges are not supposed to deviate China from its current policy path that bets on new strategic industries envisioned to underpin the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an executive of the World Economic Forum (WEF) said on Tuesday during the WEF's Annual Meeting of New Champions, also dubbed the Summer Davos Forum, held in North China's Tianjin Municipality.

The 10 industries under the "Made in China 2025" plan including information technology and robotics demonstrate the government's long-term vision and recognition that "these are the industries that are going to create future economic development," David Aikman, chief representative officer and managing director of the WEF's China office, said in an interview with the Global Times.

"I don't see that focus changing, and even if there are more headwinds and challenges, I don't see China necessarily deviating from that course, because it sees that as the way to stay away from the middle income trap."

Escalating trade tensions with the US have put China's technological rise in the spotlight, stirring concerns about the latter's push for technological advancements.

The trade row is indicative of changing dynamics on the geopolitical stage, said Aikman.

"All of a sudden countries that weren't necessarily big powers in a given industry are now able to change the nature of trade," Aikman said, adding that there will be increasing geopolitical competition, and not just between China and the US.

There have been arguments that globalization is working for some but not for others, and people who have been left behind by globalization are feeling frustrated.

Therefore, this has resulted in the rise of populism, which lies at the core of trade xenophobia.

However, as technologies become increasingly interconnected, "the complexity and speed of change are actually requiring us to be globalized in our mindset," Aikman noted, calling for a mindset shift that would help reduce tensions and friction.

Meanwhile, top researchers have pointed to other noteworthy aspects of manufacturing remodeling.

"There is a growing trend where foreign manufacturers are considering re-shoring from China and other developing countries, owing to multiple factors including technological advancements," Rafat Al-Akhali, head of secretariat of the Pathways for Prosperity Commission at the University of Oxford, said during the forum.

Elaborating on the technological side, Al-Akhali, also former Minister of Youth and Sports in Yemen, told the Global Times that with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics redesigning the traditional manufacturing landscape,  conventional metrics used to gauge competitive advantages in a country's manufacturing sector such as cheap labor won't matter that much.