Skip to main content

What is China’s Industrial Policy?

June 09, 2022
Barry Naughton


Click here to read Chapter 1 of Barry Naughton’s The Rise of China’s Industrial Policy: 1978 To 2020.

China has rapidly emerged to become a large economy and a technological power. Although still a middle-income country, China now has the world’s second most important high-tech sector, as well as the world’s largest manufacturing and internet sectors. These are remarkable achievements by any standard. To what extent can China’s undeniable economic and technological success be attributed to specific policies, and more generally to a Chinese “path,” or program of industrial policy?

In this essay, which appears as a chapter in The Rise of China’s Industrial Policy: 1978 To 2020 (2021, UNAM), IGCC affiliate Barry Naughton defines what is—and what is not—industrial policy and untangles misconceptions about China’s industrial policy. Naughton also counters the view that conflict between the two technological superpowers—China and the United States—is inevitable.

Barry Naughton co-leads IGCC research on China’s Science, Technology, Innovation, and Industrial Policies, and is So Kwanlok Professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego.

/ / / / /