EU Science Hub

China - Challenges and Prospects of an Aspiring Industrial and Innovation Leader

Image - Report: China – Challenges and Prospects of an Industrial and Innovation Powerhouse
May 23 2019

The EU is seeing rapidly increasing competition from China for industrial and technological leadership, according to a new report by the Commission's Joint Research Centre.

Today, the Joint Research Centre publishes a new report, which analyses China's approach to attain a leadership position in international markets through a combination of industrial, research and innovation (R&I), trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) policies. It offers an evidence-based assessment of China's current position compared to the EU and US innovation systems across a range of dimensions.

The report shows that China is becoming – or already is – a major industrial competitor in rapidly expanding high-tech sectors, and may well attain innovation leadership in the following areas:

1. Next-generation IT;

2. High-end numerical control machinery and robotics;

3. Aerospace and aviation equipment;

4. Maritime engineering equipment and high-tech maritime vessel manufacturing;

5. Advanced rail equipment;

6. Energy-saving vehicles and new energy vehicles;

7. Electrical equipment;

8. Agricultural machinery and equipment;

9. New materials;

10. Biopharmaceutical and high-performance medical devices.

In response, the authors emphasise the need for the EU to boost its industrial and R&I performance and – given the complexity of the EU-China relationship – develop policies that can ensure a level playing field for EU companies in China.  

This is also reflected in the EU-China Strategic Outlook, which sets out concrete actions to seek a more balanced and reciprocal relationship given China's growing power and influence. These actions also relate to the EU's global competitiveness and security.