Illustration of a robot with Chinese characters
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Made in China 2025

The making of a high-tech superpower and consequences for industrial countries

China has launched a high-tech revolution: Beijing has devised an industrial masterplan named "Made in China 2025" and is investing billions to turn China into one of the leading industrial countries by 2049. In 2015, Beijing initiated a master plan called “Made in China 2025”, aimed at turning the country into a production hub for high-tech products within the next few decades. According to the plan, the domestic market share of Chinese suppliers for "basic core components and important basic materials" is intended to increase to 70 per cent by 2025.

China strives for market leadership in main growth areas for a large number of industrial countries. Information technology, computerised machines, robots, energy-saving vehicles, medical devices as well as high-tech equipment for aerospace technology, maritime and rail transport are in the focus of the major industrial revamp called "Made in China 2025."

As the latest MERICS Paper on China shows, China's ambitious strategy is starting to bear fruit. Industrial countries like Germany and the United States have to be prepared for strong competition.

The authors Jost Wübbeke, Mirjam Meissner, Max J. Zenglein, Jaqueline Ives and Björn Conrad analysed government documents related to “Made in China 2025” and other strategies like “Internet Plus.” The research is also based on interviews with more than 60 experts from enterprises, business associations and political institutions in China, Germany and other European countries. The researchers measured the progress of China's strategy by scrutinising patent activities and the allocation of subsidies. In several case studies, based on field research and investigations in China, the authors assessed the stage of development of Chinese companies in key segments of high-tech production.