China looks to boost its manufacturing sector

China's State Council has pledged to assist the nation’s manufacturing sector with the implementation of the "Made in China 2025" strategy.

Dow Jones Newswires reports that the strategy comes as China’s high-volume low-end manufacturing sector feels the effects of global competition. Compared to other developing nations, its labour costs are beginning to become relatively high.

The ‘Made in China’ strategy, which will include tax and financial aid, will aim to strengthen 10 industrial sectors including aerospace, new energy vehicles and high-speed railways.

As the Global Post reports, earlier this month Premier Li Keqiang (pictured) said the strategy will be accompanied by "Internet Plus", a plan to encourage innovation, smart technology, the mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things.

The state Council did not reveal details of the assistance. However, it also announced that it will continue to reform state-owned enterprises and boost the profitability of state firms. It did not give details but Beijing has been pushing mergers of state companies to reduce competition in overseas markets.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, the preliminary HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (a key index), fell to 49.2 in March, compared with a final reading of 50.7 in February.

All readings above 50 indicate expansion in the manufacturing sector, while figures under 50 represent contraction. The last time the index was below 50 was in January this year, when it fell to 49.7.

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