China's five-year plans define the country's social, economic and political goals for the relevant period. This is also true of the thirteenth five-year plan, the first from the government of President Xi Jinping. While the world's second-biggest economy has seen a slight slowing down of its economic growth over the last few years, the new five-year plan continues to set high goals: the gross national product is set to grow by 6.5 % annually. At the same time, the country is aiming to implement a new development concept that combines growth together with social and political reforms.
Investors enthusiastic about reforms
Just how China wants to balance out its growth strategy and reforms remains to be seen. The international investors certainly appear enthusiastic. Reforms for suppliers, innovation, technological upgrading, competition, improved efficiency and the reduction of dependency on fossil fuels promise some outstanding opportunities. In addition, the country wishes to increase spending on research and development to 2.5% of the gross national product.
Swiss companies can also benefit from these plans. There is a particular focus on the areas of:
Water supply and waste water management
In Switzerland, several thousand companies operate in the area of waste water management, with many producing technical systems or components for waste water treatment. Local Chinese actors are continually on the hunt for Swiss technologies, and if Swiss companies are able to connect up with them, then countless opportunities are opened up.
A strong trend towards automation
There is a similar picture in the domain of robotics. Here as well, many Swiss companies are in an outstandingly good position. China is planning to triple annual production of robots for manufacturing processes. The country has been the biggest market for industrial robots since 2013, and the structural shift from a labor-intensive to a technology-heavy economy with a focus on automation continues unabated.
Country consultancy for China
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An information paper from the Swiss Business Hub China is available here and among the downloads.