Huang Libin, spokesperson of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and director general of MIIT's Performance Inspection and Coordination Bureau;
Wen Ku, MIIT spokesperson and director general of MIIT's Department of Information and Communications Technology Development.
Xi Yanchun, spokesperson of the State Council Information Office
April 23, 2020
Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good afternoon. Welcome to this press conference held by the State Council Information Office (SCIO). Today, we are delighted to invite Mr. Huang Libin, spokesperson of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and director general of MIIT's Performance Inspection and Coordination Bureau; and Mr. Wen Ku, MIIT spokesperson and director general of MIIT's Department of Information and Communications Technology Development. They will introduce China's industrial and communications development in the first quarter of 2020, and also answer some of your questions.
First, I'll give the floor to Mr. Huang.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good afternoon. First of all, thank you for your interest and support in the development of industry and communications. Next, I will brief you on the basic situation during the first quarter of 2020, and then my colleague Mr. Wen and I will answer some of your questions.
Since the beginning of this year, the unexpected outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic has severely affected China's economic and social development. All sectors of society have been earnestly implementing the overall deployments made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council to coordinate the epidemic prevention and control work with economic and social development. Through hard work, China has achieved sustained improvements regarding the epidemic situation, and accelerated the restoration of economic and social orders. In the fields of industry and information technology, work and production have been resumed at an accelerated pace. The information and communications industrial sector has maintained overall stability.
First, the MIIT has ensured the supply of key materials in an orderly and vigorous manner. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the MIIT has been leading the State Council medical supplies group, and strengthening collaboration with other member units. Multiple measures have been taken to increase production and expand capacity concerning the efficient production and effective supply of key medical materials. During the peak period, the daily output of medical protective clothing exceeded 700,000 pieces, which was more than 50 times that during the early stage of the epidemic. The production of masks, medicine, infrared thermometers, ventilators and negative pressure ambulances has quickly increased, which has been indispensable in the domestic fight against the epidemic. Whilst working to meet domestic demand, the MIIT has also provided assistance within our capabilities to countries suffering from COVID-19. More efforts have been made to increase the supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients and anti-epidemic materials to the international market, so as to help prevent and control the pandemic globally.
Second, the MIIT has accelerated and further expanded work and production resumption. With a correct understanding of the relationship between epidemic control and production resumption, the MIIT has worked to promote the orderly resumption of work and production of the manufacturing industry through differentiated strategies and whole-industrial-chain coordination on the premise of strictly implementing COVID-19 control measures. Based on the concept of coordinated development between large and small companies, upper- and lower-stream enterprises, as well as domestic and foreign trade sectors, the MIIT has focused on key sectors, major industries and leading enterprises, highlighting the bottlenecks, difficulties and pains they have encountered in resuming work and production. More efforts have been made to conduct supervision and provide guidance accordingly. The MIIT has also introduced a series of policies and measures to further support medium, small, and micro enterprises (MSMEs). Through targeted coordination and assistance, the MIIT has been working to comprehensively help the manufacturing industry resume work and production. To date, industrial enterprises above designated size have basically resumed work and production. As of April 21, the average operating rate of enterprises and reinstatement rate of employees reached 99.1% and 95.1%, respectively, while the figures in Hubei province stood at 98.2% and 92.2%.
Third, economic performance has seen some positive changes. In order to cope with the economic impact of COVID-19, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council quickly proposed a series of counter-cyclical macro-policy adjustments, in order to ensure that economic fundamentals have remained steady. As these policies have gradually taken effect, major industrial indicators have improved significantly. In the first quarter of 2020, the added value of industrial enterprises above designated size dropped by 8.4% year-on-year. The figure in March dropped by 1.1%, the decrease of which narrowed by 12.4 percentage points compared with that of the previous two months. Investment in the manufacturing sector fell 25.2% year-on-year, the decrease of which narrowed by 6.3 percentage points compared with that of the previous two months. In March, the purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector rose to 52% from 35.7% in February.
Fourth, the new economy and new momentum are growing against the trend. We strongly support 5G, artificial intelligence, Industrial Internet, Internet of Things, Internet of Vehicles, big data, blockchain, and other technological innovations and industrial applications; we accelerate the progress of 4G and 5G base stations construction. During the prevention and control of the epidemic, emerging demands, such as remote education, online medical service, and online video, have expanded rapidly, and internet applications have played an essential role in meeting people's everyday needs. In the first quarter, the added value from information transmission, software, and information technology services industries grew by 13.2% year-on-year; mobile internet traffic increased by another 39.3% on the basis of an increase of 129.1% in the same period last year. The national online retail sales of physical goods increased by 5.9%. In terms of industrial development, the output of integrated circuits, vending machines and ticketing machines, and electronic components increased by 16%, 35.3%, and 16.2%, respectively, in the first quarter. The value added from high-tech manufacturing in March increased by 8.9% year-on-year.
At present, China's domestic epidemic situation has been effectively controlled, and the orders of production and livelihood have been resumed in an accelerated way. However, the international epidemic is still expanding, the risk of a downturn of the world economy is increasing, unstable and uncertain factors have increased significantly, and the industrial economy is facing new difficulties and challenges. The situation is still not optimistic. From the perspective of long-term trends, we can see the impact and influence of the epidemic are staged and generally controllable and will not change the fundamentals of China's long-term economic growth. In the next step, in accordance with the overall arrangement of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council to coordinate epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development, our ministry will strengthen the "six stabilities," implement the "six guarantees", and comprehensively promote the manufacturing industry to resume work and production and reach its production goals, ensuring the stability of the supply chain and the industrial chain and promoting the stable and orderly development of the industrial economy in the normalized epidemic prevention and control.
I have finished my introduction. Now, Mr. Wen Ku and I will answer your questions.