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Purpose and scope of the study: A WTO perspective The main purpose of this study is to examine the pace and pattern of development of China’s new industries, as they may bear on the regional production networks in East Asia. Two new industries are selected for the study. First is the electronics and information technology (IT) industry, and second is the automobile industry. Both industries are considered new, and have experienced accelerated application of new technologies supplied from abroad, which until the late 1980s were almost totally alien to the Chinese industrial system. The other major characteristic is that these new industries cater substantially to an entirely new spectrum of clientele. Thus, while just a few years ago, saloon cars were still far beyond the dreams of private individuals, they now have rapidly entered the realm of possibility for hundreds of thousands of urban households, similar to the case of coloured televisions, video recorders, and refrigerators from the mid-1980s onwards, and air conditioners since the early 1990s. The two new industries are selected for study mainly because they seem poised to signiÀcantly affect the industrial setting of the neighbouring East * Reprinted with minor adaptation from Ponciano Intal, Jr. Marissa Garcia and Miguel Roberto Borromeo (eds.), Production Networks, Industrial Adjustment, Institutions and Policies and Regional Cooperation—Country Cases and Regional Paper, Manila: De La Salle University-Angelo King Institute for Economics and Business Studies, 2009 (a project funded by the International Development Research Centre of Canada, see kueh/.pdf). 11 China’s New Industries and Regional Economic Realignment in the Asia PaciÀc* 278 Pax Sinica Asian economies in the years to come. Just within a few years of its debut in the late 1980s, the Chinese electronics and IT industry has swiftly established itself as a highly export-oriented undertaking, threatening to erode the global market shares of such star forerunners as Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore, and in fact, even more remarkably, that of Japan as well. Likewise, there are clear signs that the Chinese automobile industry, by virtue of the enormous advances made in the domestic market in the past several years, is now on the threshold of targeting the export market in Asia and other parts of the world. Hopefully, Thailand—the most important car manufacturing and exporting country in Southeast Asia—will be able to withstand the expected Chinese foray in the future. This study attempts therefore to trace the development of the two Chinese industries, focusing on the role of FDI and their exports records or export potentials. The relative strengths of the Chinese electronics and IT industry as an exporter will be estimated in detail, speciÀcally vis-à-vis that of neighbouring economies. The estimation applies the familiar revealed comparative advantage (RCA) methodology, and concentrates on the US market, which is the single most important export destination for all East Asian exporters. The analysis will generally cover the period from the mid-1990s to 2004. This will hopefully help to shed some light on the changing competitiveness of the Chinese electronics and IT industry, as it may impinge upon similar industries in other parts of the region. It should also be of great interest to see how the smaller neighbouring economies cope with the impact from China and exploit the niches offered by the emerging new regional production networks. In more positive terms, the question posed is what may possibly become the new pattern of regional economic cooperation, and what may be the practical implications of all such changes for regional trade and investment Áows in the foreseeable future. The analysis of the Chinese automobile industry will largely be conÀned to the production and sales of passenger cars in China. It will also be kept in relative brevity, given that the industry has yet to start testing the Asia-PaciÀc waters for exporting its maturing array of vehicles. The two new Chinese industries are to be examined, to a certain extent, as case studies on the regional economic impact of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 2001. There are three aspects to this complex problem. First is how, under WTO’s free trade regime (continuous tariff concessions and import quota reductions), the comparative advantages (or disadvantages) China’s New Industries and Regional Economic Realignment in the Asia PaciÀc 279 of the Chinese industries, in terms of factor endowment or technological attainment, may...


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