China’s Automotive Modernization: The Party-State and by Gregory T. Chin (auth.)

By Gregory T. Chin (auth.)

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By the early 1990s, the overall situation of central state finances was in everworsening shape. Even as the government called for the need for more centrally controlled industrial policy in the early 1990s, the financial resources of the central state were heading toward an historical low point. 2 percent in 1978. 67 It was only in the budget for the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996–2000) that specific financial provisions were made to help the JV assemblers meet certain developmental targets. Also in the 1990s, Chinese authorities allowed Chinese state parent companies in the JVs to issue shares on the stock exchange to raise capital and not to rely only, or as heavily, on bank lending as the source of industrial finance.

The role of the state? 9 There is intense debate over the main intentions of the state and the consequences of its mediation. There is general agreement that the Chinese state has essentially pursued an import substitution strategy, following the examples of Japan and Korea, and Brazil by severely limiting imports, in order to save on the costs (rents) paid to the importing firms and to save scarce foreign exchange. 10 The Chinese Party-state has used its own version of a “triad“ of policies – trade, investment, and industrial policy – to modernize China’s “indigenous” auto industry.

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. 48 In the China case, there has been heavy reliance on direct foreign financing in China’s auto industry, and the state has focused on how to effectively channel the foreign capital flows to new corporate subsidiaries that have been formed with preferred domestic companies.

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