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By Gregory T. Chin (auth.)

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Extra info for China’s Automotive Modernization: The Party-State and Multinational Corporations

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The Chinese Party-state was dealing from a much smaller domestic financial base 40 China’s Automotive Modernization than in Japan and Korea, and its investment allocation decisions in the 1980s did not favor the auto industry. 70 This meant that central coordination capacity weakened immediately after the JV deal was signed and the Chinese start-up contributions were secured. It was not until the auto sector became fully entrenched as a pillar industry in the 1990s that the Chinese state began to direct larger amounts of investment to the auto industry, and related upstream and downstream industries.

Joint ventures were seen by Chinese strategists as a low-cost conduit for Chinese auto producers quickly to enter into manufacturing more modern vehicles, relying on the designs and production processes of foreign partners, instead of having to develop their own innovation and manufacturing capacities. Both FAW and SAW had proven that it was very difficult for the backward Chinese automakers to redesign even inefficient engines for mid-size trucks, through acquisition of foreign technology and then reverse engineering.

47 China’s automotive modernization path, especially the financing arrangements for remaking the passenger car industry in China, has looked very different from this defining feature of the development state. Rather than large amounts of state finance being strategically directed to supporting domestic auto producers, reliance on foreign financing, which is part of large foreign investment packages has, in many respects, been the defining feature of China’s development path over the past three decades.

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