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China Aims to Become World's Largest Shipbuilder

China aims to build more ships in the years ahead to cope with a growing demand from the international market and turn itself into the world's largest shipbuilding nation, said He Rongguang, president of Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industrial Co. Ltd based in northeast China's Liaoning Province.

China presently builds about 15 percent of the world's total tonnage of ships and holds 17 percent of all the global orders, said He, a deputy to the 10th National People's Congress, in an interview with Xinhua on Saturday.

China, which has been the world's third largest shipbuilding nation for years, is "very likely" to rank the first in the near future if it maintains the growing momentum, he added.

He went on to say that "a booming shipbuilding industry will boost China's overall manufacturing industry, particularly the production of iron and steel, electronic and mechanical products, and will create more jobs."

On the other hand, a booming shipbuilding industry will help rejuvenate the country's northeastern rust-belt, as most shipbuilders are based in the traditional heavy industrial base, he added.

China's shipbuilding industry faces a golden opportunity for expansion since a growing number of international investors have eyed China, a developing nation, as an ideal manufacturing base, he said. "Meanwhile, sustained growth of the national economy has created a sound environment for the industry to prosper."

His view is echoed by Chen Xiaojin, general manager of China State Shipbuilding Corp., who said that the recovery of global economy has brought a busy international shipping business and rising demands for ships. "This in turn stimulated the development of world shipbuilding industry," said Chen, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Nevertheless, Chen said, China has to rely on state-of-the-art technologies and innovation to further enhance its shipbuilding capacity.

As a leading shipbuilding company in China, CSSC built 3.57 million tons of new ships in 2004, up 64.5 percent over the previous year. Of the total tonnage of ships constructed, 73.8 percent have been exported.

According to Chen, his company expects to build 4.36 million tons of ships and receive 4 million tons of new orders in 2005.

(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2005)

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