New energy vehicles are lined up at a carmaker's yard in Wuhu, Anhui province. (WANG YUSHI / FOR CHINA DAILY)
China has the confidence, ability and determination to cope with multiple challenges and maintain stable industrial growth this year, the country's top industry regulator said on Wednesday.
The comment comes after China's rebounding industrial production continued to play its "cornerstone" role in enhancing economic growth in 2022, with industrial output, a key economic indicator, rising 3.6 percent year-on-year last year.
We insist on taking high-quality development as our primary task …
Tian Yulong, chief engineer at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology
Tian Yulong, chief engineer at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at a news conference that hard work remains ahead to maintain stable industrial operations, especially in the current quarter.
"But with the optimized COVID-19 containment measures and the combined effects of existing and new policies to support businesses, we have the confidence, determination and ability to cope with difficult challenges," Tian said.
Last year, China's sprawling industrial economy played an effective role as a cornerstone and contributed to 36 percent of GDP growth. Notably, manufacturing investment increased by 9.1 percent year-on-year, showcasing better market expectations.
High-tech manufacturing and equipment production output soared by 7.4 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively, which was 3.8 percentage points and 2 percentage points faster than overall industrial output growth.
"We insist on taking high-quality development as our primary task, focus on promoting structural adjustment, transformation and upgrading, and accelerate the development of high-end, intelligent and green manufacturing," Tian said.
He added that the ministry is studying the follow-up support policies for new energy vehicles, such as promoting the development of fuel-cell vehicles and launching pilot cities in promoting comprehensive electrification of vehicles in public areas.
Last year, production volume and sales of new energy vehicles hit 7 million units and 6.9 million units, respectively, up 97 percent and 93 percent year-on-year, placing China tops worldwide for eight consecutive years, the ministry said.
Chen Shihua, deputy secretary-general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said January-February NEV sales may fall compared with the same period last year because of the withdrawal of subsidies that were first introduced in 2009.
But for the entire year, sales will maintain rapid growth, said Chen, as both the macroeconomy and consumer confidence continue to recover.
The China Passenger Car Association expects sales of electric and plug-in hybrid passenger vehicles to hit 8.5 million units in China this year.
Zhao Wei, chief analyst with Sinolink Securities, said despite all the challenges, industrial production beat expectations last year. And in 2023, the recovery of manufacturing investment will continue to be a driver of economic growth.
Wei Qijia, head of industry economy research at the State Information Center, said manufacturing is important to China's economic growth. It is necessary to combine the expansion of domestic demand with the stabilization of external demand, so as to better overcome challenges.