Stepping up

Updated: 2015-09-11 07:27

By Andrew Moody(China Daily Europe)

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Stepping up

The Xi'an High-tech Industries Development Zone in northwestern China's Shaanxi province. Provided to China Daily

Cai at Guanghua School of Management does not believe that China has any choice but to focus on manufacturing because it could take several generations before it could compete with the US and the UK in services.

"China is at a very different development stage compared with these countries. It is still in the early to middle stages of industrialization. We are not in a position to jump to a post-industrial society. If China loses its manufacturing, it is losing the foundation on which future growth can be built."

Kirby says specializing in both services and manufacturing could be the future because he argues that a country as big as China has to have more than one industrial development model.

"It is like looking at Europe and considering that both Greece and Germany are the same. They are clearly not. I expect in China certain areas of the country will be known for the strengths in one sector and others for their strength in another."

The Harvard academic is particularly excited by the prospects for Zhejiang, the eastern province and one of the areas where Chinese low-cost manufacturing flourished after reform and opening up.

"Zhejiang is a place of great entrepreneurship because it has so few state-owned enterprises. I can imagine it will become a place in the future known for e-commerce and high-end manufacturing. I think Made in Zhejiang may become a more important label than Made in China."

Lu Hongyan and Du Juan contributed to this story.

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