Market Survey The stronger the machine, the stronger the country

Author / Editor: Mr. Fa He / Lina Klass

The 30th Chinese machine tool industry development forum 2018 and operating situation seminar with the theme “Review the history, temper forward, pool strengths, innovate and develop" jointly study the macroeconomic and market situation, exchange experiences on development and discuss the sustainable development in the machine tool industry in the new era.

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30th Chinese machine tool industry development forum 2018
30th Chinese machine tool industry development forum 2018
(Source: Baidu Picture)

At present, China is the world's largest producer, largest consumer and thew largest importer of machine tools. The machine tool industry is a typical cyclical industry and the developmental process of ups and downs has worried the industry for decades.

Rising machine tool industry as a catalyst for China's development

Shen Liechu, former Vice Minister of the Machine Building Industry Ministry, concluded in his keynote speech: “In the process of China's rise, the machine tool industry has made a contribution to the development of the national economy with a high sense of responsibility, but there is still a gap on the whole, compared with the international level – especially in CNC systems and high-end CNC machine tools, which cannot be produced. In the age of rich China, the machine tool industry is moving forward with many ups and down waves, where not only has the volume increased, the level has improved as well.”

The gratifying thing is that there are now manufacturers of CNC systems, for example, HNC, GSK or Shenyang Machine Tools. Furthermore, the products of high-end CNC machine tool manufacturing companies like Koyo have entered the production of military enterprises, forming a complete industrial and technology chain.

Variation is the eternal theme

Fortunately, the market and the operation of the machine tool industry showed a turn round and the stabilised situation, as well as the overall situation is good. According to statistics, in the first three quarters of 2017, China's machine tool industry handed over a rare transcript which has not been seen for many years, and the main income of the industry was RMB 764.1 billion, from January to September, up 8.8% over the same period, recording a total profit is RMB 48.1 billion, with a year-on-year increase of 22.2%.

The manufacturing industry is the carrier and also the main battlefield of the real economy. Under the backdrop of China's macroeconomic off the reality towards virtuality and global re-industrialisation, the difficulty of the machine tool industry is more obvious.

At the forum, Cai Weici fully analysed the current operation situation of the machinery industry, and pointed out that the machinery industry showed a structural change in trend: First, the industrial structure is adjusted to adapt to consumption and the development of the people's livelihood. Second, the product structure is developing in the direction of energy saving, emission reduction as well as high efficiency and quality. Third, the technical structure is upgraded towards digitisation and intelligence.

Imports in the machine industry are still necessary

Furthermore, it was pointed out that the situation, particularly, of high-end shortage and low-end surplus of the machine industry has not changed fundamentally. On the one hand, the lack of demand is still the main difficulty. On the other hand, although progress in specialising the high-end area and making up the short end in recent years, the fact that high-end equipment is too dependent on imports has not changed radically.

At present, the machine industry still needs to import $300 billion a year, with a deficit in the machine tool, instrument and automobile industries being the most obvious. According to the statistics, the import and export trade deficit of the machine tool industry was USD2.95 billion, from January to September in 2017, up 27.7% over the same period. This data has also been confirmed by Cai Weici.

Cai Weici found in a survey that in the five projects under the "2025 China Manufacturing" programme, with regards to the process of implementation,there is a phenomenon of "hot" in intelligent manufacturing, "cold" in strong industrial base and "hard" in construction of innovation centre. In the process of upgrading and strengthening the machine industry to high-end machining, main constraints remain weak innovation ability and weak foundation.

However, he was pleased to point out that the new format and new mode of mechanical industry is germinating: First, the digital, network and intelligent industries are getting hot. Second, service-oriented manufacturing is rising from selling products to selling services. Liang Feng, President of China National Machine Tool Corporation (CNMTC), also pointed out that China's machine tool industry is showing a trend of the development in high-speed precision, intelligent manufacturing, flexible integration, large-scale composite, green energy saving areas and overall solutions, thus forming a new supply and demand mode.

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