China beats Japan in high-tech Asia exports

Japan has lost its dominance of Asia's high-technology exports to China, whose share of Asia exports of high-tech goods rose to 43.7 per cent last year, from 9.4 per cent in 2000, said the Asian Development Bank. Japan's share slid to 7.7 per cent la
Japan has lost its dominance of Asia's high-technology exports to China, whose share of Asia exports of high-tech goods rose to 43.7 per cent last year, from 9.4 per cent in 2000, said the Asian Development Bank. Japan's share slid to 7.7 per cent last year from 25.5 per cent in 2000.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • China has brought to an end Japan's dominance of Asia's high-technology exports, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

China's share of Asia's exports of high-tech goods such as medical instruments, and aircraft and telecommunications equipment rose to 43.7 per cent last year from 9.4 per cent in 2000, the ADB said.

Japan's share slid to 7.7 per cent last year from 25.5 per cent in 2000. South-east Asian nations, including Malaysia and the Philippines, also lost market share.

The shift marks China's success in boosting innovation and technology as key drivers of its economy as it seeks to move up the manufacturing value chain.

Low-tech goods accounted for 28 per cent of China's exports last year, compared with 41 per cent in 2000, according to ADB's Asian Economic Integration Report 2015 released yesterday.

"China has made inroads in taking more and more high-tech manufacturing onshore even as a lot of critical components are still imported from other countries," said Mr Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC Holdings in Hong Kong. "It's becoming highly competitive, with highly skilled labour and we're seeing increasing research and development moving into China."

China-made drones, smartphones and even high-speed trains have become internationally competitive and the number of enterprises in the high-tech manufacturing sector has tripled to almost 30,000 from fewer than 10,000 in 2000, ADB chief economist Shang- Jin Wei said in an e-mail.

"We are seeing some signs of success in some industries," he said. "But China is still not a global technology leader like the United States or Germany. What we are seeing is that China is catching up very fast on the 'standard technology' products and is beginning to do some innovations of its own."

China also leads in exports of low-tech goods such as textiles, food and beverages, and wood, pulp and paper products. It had a 55.4 per cent market share last year, followed by India with 9.4 per cent.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2015, with the headline 'China beats Japan in high-tech Asia exports'. Print Edition | Subscribe