Chinese manufacturing should focus on high-end products: Hisense chairman

By Zhang Liying
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 19, 2018
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Zhou Houjian, chairman of Hisense, stands outside the meeting room of the Shandong delegation on Sunday during the first session of the 13th National People's Congress held in Beijing. [Photo by Zhang Liying/]

Chinese manufacturing should focus on middle- and high-end products, said Zhou Houjian in an interview with on Sunday during the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) held in Beijing.

Zhou is a deputy to the 13th NPC and the chairman of Hisense, a Chinese multinational white goods and electronics manufacturer headquartered in Qingdao, Shandong province.

In the four decades since the country's economic reform and opening up, Chinese manufacturers have established solid foundations of technological and human resources, Zhou said.

"If they can focus on middle- and high-end products with high added value, those foundations will turn into drivers for profit growth."

In the eyes of the entrepreneur, research and development as well as process management also play important roles in improving Chinese manufacturing.

"R&D determines the quality of products, which holds the key to the development of manufacturing. Without remarkable R&D, enterprises could not produce high-quality products, and there would not be competitive manufacturing," Zhou said.

He added that efficient process management can help bolster productivity, which is crucial to Chinese manufacturers facing rising labor costs.

Zhou said Hisense has demonstrated that such improvements, including an increased use of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, can boost business.

Though there is still a gap between Chinese manufacturing and that of long-established manufacturing powers such as America, Germany and Japan, the chairman noted that the gap is rapidly narrowing.

According to a report released by the Chinese Academy of Engineering in May 2016, the "composite index" of Chinese manufacturing increased from 30 percent of America's at the beginning of this century to 58 percent by 2015. The index shows the scale, structure, quality and sustainability of a country's manufacturing.

In May 2015, the Chinese government unveiled its "Made in China 2025" 10-year national action plan, designed to transform China from a mere manufacturing workhorse into an industry-leading power.

This year's government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang at the opening meeting of the ongoing NPC session said the central government would "encourage the spirit of workmanship, ignite a revolution in the quality of Chinese-made goods and step up work to build China into a leader in manufacturing."

Zhou was designated one of the 10 "China Economic Persons of 2017" in January for his promotion of innovation-driven development at a ceremony organized by Sina, People's Daily and Channel Wu, a podcast hosted by the financial writer Wu Xiaobo.

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