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IT Becomes Pillar Industry

China's information technology (IT) sector has become a leading pillar industry, which enables the country to surpass Japan and edge into the world's second place in terms of scale.

China's IT sector realized 1.88 trillion yuan (US$226.5 billion) in sales income last year, compared with the US$190 billion sales revenue for Japan's IT industry, said Chen Wei, a senior official with the Ministry of Information Industry, at a press conference held Thursday on SINOCES 2004, or China International Consumer Electronics Exposition.

The exposition, said to be among the best and largest of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region and a window on the development of the consumer electronics industry in China and the rest of the world, opened in the east China port city of Qingdao Friday.

Chen, who is deputy director of the ministry's economic operation department, said China now has 240 million subscribers of telephone and mobile phone, ranking first in the world, as well as nearly 80 million netizens in China, ranking the second.

Meanwhile, China is the world's biggest display manufacturer, with its high-end digital TV output growing at an annual rate of more than 30 percent.

Chen added the IT sector makes up about 32 percent of China's total foreign trade, and its export accounts for one third of the nation's total.

In the first four months of this year, the IT sector scored a sales income of 690 billion yuan (83.13 billion US dollars), up 45.8 percent over the year-earlier level, according to statistics offered by the Ministry of Information Industry.

The statistics also show that between January and April, China produced 80.76 million cell phones, up 58 percent year on year; program-controlled switches with a combined capacity of 27 millionlines, up 59 percent.

The four-month period also saw a 98-percent sales-production ratio for major consumer electronics in China.

(Xinhua News Agency June 21, 2004)

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