August 31, 2021

Chart of the Week: China’s high-tech export share continues to lag

by Fathom Consulting.

Over the years, Fathom Consulting has created a wealth of proprietary indicators, some of which are available on Refinitiv’s Chartbook, including the one shown here. This examines China’s progress in transforming its enormous manufacturing base into the high-tech powerhouse envisaged by the Made in China 2025 (MIC 2025) plan.

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Announced in 2015, the plan aims to transform China’s export market away from low-cost, low-skilled goods, and towards more advanced technologies in the sectors shown in the chart. Last year, 17% of China’s total goods exports fell into this ‘high-tech’ category, with steady gains in IT and COVID-related medical equipment helping bolster that share.

Even so, China’s high-tech export share continues to lag well behind that of other manufacturing powerhouses, such as Germany at 23.1% and Japan at 23.5%. That gap is likely to persist until China meaningfully rebalances away from its old model, which relies on low-cost, low-skilled exports to help support growth. In addition, MIC 2025 is being challenged by the more restrictive international environment for Chinese exports and investment, not to mention the recent domestic crackdown on various technology companies which risks stifling domestic private sector innovation.

This chart, and other China-specific data using our proprietary RiCArdo database, are now available on Chartbook, under Fathom Proprietary Indices, RiCArdo Database. If you are interested in our global dataset, which provides detailed trade data for over 200 other countries and regions, please contact leara.gabay@fathom-consulting.com.

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