China state planner and top bank set up US$47 billion fund to invest in emerging industries

The National Development and Reform Commission and China Construction Bank are targeting sectors including new materials, biotechnology and new-energy vehicles

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2018, 8:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2018, 11:03pm

Mainland China’s top economic planning body has teamed up with state lender China Construction Bank to start a 300 billion yuan (US$47 billion) fund to invest in up and coming industries including new materials, biotechnology and new-energy vehicles.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on its website on Tuesday that the fund would seek to attract private capital to invest in strategic industries.

The initiative comes as China aims to nearly double the contribution of emerging industries to its economy to 15 per cent by 2020, up from 8 per cent in 2015, according to a state plan.

“State power and funding could be a way to drive the initiative quickly in the short term,” said Nie Huihua, a professor of economics at Beijing’s Renmin University. “However, a more effective way would be for market forces to play a bigger, decisive role in pushing ahead with such investments.”

The state and market forces can operate in parallel, he said, adding that state support could be effective in encouraging capital into sectors where private funds have yet to see strong growth prospects.

However he noted that having the NDRC as both “referee” and “player” could leave room for conflicts of interest and rent-seeking. He said the focus of the fund should also be sharpened to improve its effectiveness.

In the state blueprint, it is envisioned that sectors such as advanced manufacturing and life sciences could each create at least 1 million jobs annually in the five years to 2020.

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