Firms to get support for industrial parks as mainland seeks to increase exports The Ministry of Commerce is expected to pick two or three cities to establish car component industrial parks as part of government's efforts to bolster exports, according to a Changchun city official. Parts makers were being offered financial support to set up the factories, said Zhu Yejing, the mayor of Changchun. Cities that had applied include Changchun, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan, said Mr Zhu, adding that the result would be announced by the middle of next month. 'Because it involves financial support, everybody is fighting for it,' he said. 'For many companies, money is a bottleneck for growth.' Mr Zhu said the financial support could be an increase in loan credit limits, which may come from banks or government bonds. However, the policy initiative has attracted some criticism from an industry executive. 'The government's role should be to direct and regulate, not to decide which companies should invest where,' said Yin Jiaxu, chairman of Sichuan province-based Chongqing Changan Automobile Group, one of the country's largest car producers. 'The government can plan and approve these projects but will companies invest there for sure? China has learned too many lessons already [by getting too involved in economic decisions].' According to KPMG, China's vehicle components output came to US$16.8 billion in 2001, of which US$1.6 billion was exported. Changchun - home of the nation's largest carmaker, state-owned First Auto Works Group - last year exported US$135 million of cars and components, but this accounts for only part of its output. Mr Zhu said many foreign carmakers were keen to buy mainland-made components to lower their production costs. 'Within five years of the establishment of the component production parks, China's exports will rise substantially,' he said. First Auto Works has been exporting parts to Tanzania, Vietnam and Uzbekistan where they are assembled into complete cars.