SCIO press conference on development of industry and information technology in 2021

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The year 2021 marks the first year of the 14th Five-year Plan period (2021-2025) and a year of special importance in China's modernization drive. Industry is the leading part of the national economy, and a stable industry helps stabilize the economy. What is your comment on the overall performance of the industrial economy in 2021? Thank you.

Tian Yulong:

Thank you for your question. I mentioned it when briefing on the overall situation just now. In the special year 2021, we strived to overcome adversities brought by sporadic epidemic outbreaks, tighter supply of production factors, and constantly high commodity prices and adopted a slew of policies and measures to stabilize industrial growth in accordance with the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. Our efforts ensured the recovery of the industrial economy, and enabled progress in stabilizing and modernizing the industry chain and supply chains as well as even stronger internal driving forces for high-quality development. All those provided strong support for macroeconomic growth.

In general, the performance of the industrial economy last year had the following features:

First, the industrial economy sustained its recovery. It maintained an overall stable development last year, while the growth rate was relatively higher in the former quarters and lower in the latter. In the third quarter in particular, the growth rate declined month by month due to the epidemic, flooding, and the tighter supply of energy. Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the MIIT, together with other relevant departments, implemented a series of measures, including helping enterprises out of difficulties, ensuring energy supply, and stabilizing energy prices, which yielded remarkable results. The growth rate in the fourth quarter reversed the downward trend and began to pick up month by month. In 2021, China's industrial added value of industrial enterprises above designated size saw a year-on-year increase of 9.6% and a two-year average increase of 6.1%, higher than the pre-epidemic level in 2019. In particular, the value added to the manufacturing sector saw a year-on-year increase of 9.8% and a two-year average increase of 6.6%. The utilization rate of industrial capacity in 2021 was 77.5%, 3 percentage points higher than the previous year. Business performance improved significantly. In the first 11 months of last year, profits of industrial enterprises above designated size registered a year-on-year increase of 38% and a two-year average increase of 18.9%. Their operating margin reached 6.98%, a relatively high level in recent years. Industrial export maintained rapid growth, with the export delivery value of industrial enterprises above designated size logging a year-on-year increase of 17.7% and a two-year average increase of 8.3%. Export also showed a growth trend. Those altogether testify to a good and overall stable performance of our industrial economy.

Second, key industries have maintained growth. In 2021, 39 out of the 41 industrial categories continued to grow, with 15 industries registering more than double-digit growth. The added value of raw material manufacturing increased by 5% year on year, with a two-year average growth of 4.1%. Profits grew 92% year on year thanks to the raw material price rise, which contributed 60% to the profit growth of the whole industry. The raw material industry saw a sound performance last year. The added value of the equipment manufacturing industry registered a year-on-year growth of 12.9% and a two-year average growth of 9.7%, contributing over 40% to the overall industrial growth. Driven by the stay-at-home economy and overseas market demand, the electronic industry maintained a double-digit growth in its industrial added value and export delivery value. The added value of consumer goods manufacturing maintained an overall stable recovery with a year-on-year growth of 9.8% and a two-year average growth of 4.5%. In particular, driven by the demand for medical supplies to fight against COVID-19, the added value of the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry surged 24.8% year on year.

Third, the industrial structure has been constantly improved. Investment in the manufacturing sector has been adjusted and improved, recording a year-on-year growth of 13.5% in 2021, while that in high-tech manufacturing rose 22.2%. The proportion and structure of investment have also been constantly improved. Driven by investment, the added value of high-tech manufacturing grew rapidly, up 18.2% year on year. New intelligent and upgraded products also saw a rapid increase, so did the output of industrial robots, integrated circuits, and other new products. In particular, the production and sales of new energy vehicles exceeded 3.5 million, 1.6 times greater year on year. These are the highlights of manufacturing. Restructuring and replacing old growth drivers are making steady progress with remarkable effects. The 5G technology and industrial networks accelerated the digital transformation of manufacturing. Breakthroughs made in some key fundamental technologies also shored up the upgrading of manufacturing. The container production doubled, and the industry and supply chains of photovoltaic power, wind power, and ships are internationally competitive. Under the overall plan for carbon peak and carbon neutralization, we have formulated some plans, including implementation programs for the industrial sector and key industries involving non-ferrous metals and building materials. In the first 11 months of last year, the energy consumption per unit of the added value of industrial enterprises above designated size decreased by 5.5% year on year.

Fourth, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have resumed growth. We issued a series of policies to bail enterprises out, and further stimulate market players. In 2021, the revenue and profit of SMEs above designated size jumped 20.7% and 28.2% year on year, respectively, with two-year average growth of 9.8% and 17.1%, respectively, which are faster than the growth of the same period in 2019. We support SMEs to become more professional and specialized in niche sectors. A group of startups and innovative businesses are emerging. An MIIT survey of 1,185 "little giant" companies — leading SMEs — showed the profit margin for the first 11 months reached 10.9%, which is a good performance on the whole. Nevertheless, SMEs, especially small and micro businesses, are subject to market and epidemic changes and facing difficulties in their operation. We are stepping up efforts to help them.

Generally speaking, the current situation is still uncertain and complex. We are satisfied with the work in 2021 and confident to welcome 2022. We still have many favorable conditions, including fast economic growth, a sound growth momentum on the whole, China's leading role in COVID-19 response, a complete industrial system and sound supporting capacity, and a resilient economy with potential. Besides, with the implementation of both macro and micro policies, I am convinced that the overall development trend of the industry and information technology will not change in 2022, so will the fundamentals sustain China's long-term economic growth. With the implementation of these policies, we are confident of overcoming various difficulties to achieve a stable performance of the industrial economy. Thank you.

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