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2010: Quarter of World's Ships Will Be Made in China

Zhang Guangqin, vice minister of the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, said at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office on Thursday that China has become the world's third largest ship builder, after Japan and South Korea, in the last 20 years after the reform and opening-up policy was implemented.

He predicted that China will achieve more than 25 percent of world market share by 2010. By 2020,China's shipbuilding skills will reach or come close to world-class standards.

Growth of the industry

China's shipbuilding capacity exceeded Germany's for the first time in 1995, catapulting it to the third place behind South Korea and Japan, where it has been for the past consecutive 10 years.

In the five years from 2000 to 2004, output increased by about 26 percent per year. In 2004, China built vessels totaling more than 8.8 million dead weight tonnage (dwt), 14 percent of total world output.

Zhang said that China is expected to churn out a total output volume of more than 10 million dwt this year or 18 percent of total world output.

Enhanced innovation and technology

China is capable of building oil tankers that can carry up to 300,000 tons of crude oil, super-large container ships that can carry up to 8,000 containers, floating production, storage and offloading units (FPSO) and naval platforms, Zhang said.

China also has the capabilities to design and build most types of vessels that conform to international standards. However, there are some classes of vessel that China does not currently have the capabilities to build, for example, luxury liners.

Further, China's technical know-how in relation to products and systems including naval diesel engines and deck machines is of international standards.

Growing export market

More than 70 percent of the vessels made in China are bound for export to countries including the US, Japan, Germany, France and Canada. In 2004, China's ship exports totaled about 5.6 million dwt, in deals worth about US$3.16 billion.

International cooperation and continued growth

In the years since 1978 when China implemented its reform and opening-up policy, it has enjoyed an influx of foreign shipbuilding design and technology skills, both through private sector economic cooperation and exchange, and government-developed mechanisms with the EU, South Korea and Japan.

In 1949, there were some 20 shipbuilding corporations in China, most joint government-private enterprises. Today, there are about 700 shipbuilding corporations, 100 industry research institutes, and 70,000 professionals.

(China.org.cn by Chen Lin, June 17, 2005)

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