EU Science Hub

China: Challenges and Prospects from an Industrial and Innovation Powerhouse


China is rapidly becoming a major industrial competitor in high tech and growth sectors. Its economic success and related industrial policies have received a high degree of attention, especially in light of its capacity to challenge the leading position of advanced economies in several fields. China aims, through the 'Made in China 2025' strategy, to become a world leader in key industrial sectors. In these sectors, it strives to strengthen its domestic innovation capacity, to reduce its reliance on foreign technologies while moving up in global value chains. This report analyses China's approach to attain a dominant position in international markets through a combination of industrial, R&I, trade and foreign direct investment policies. It offers an assessment of China's current position compared to the EU and US innovation systems across a range of dimensions. It concludes that China has become a major industrial competitor in several rapidly expanding high tech sectors, which may well result in attaining China's goal of becoming an innovation leader in specific areas. As a response, the EU will need to boost its industrial and R&I performance and develop a trade policy that can ensure a level playing field for EU companies in China and for Chinese companies in the EU.