Friday 30 Sep 2022 | 13:19 | SYDNEY
Friday 30 Sep 2022 | 13:19 | SYDNEY

China technological nationalism


Sam Roggeveen


28 June 2010 13:18

Back in October of last year I wrote about China's questionable strategy for becoming a global power in the civilian aerospace sector. Courtesy of this Aviation Week article, there's further evidence that China's strategy has less to do with commercial logic and is more about creating an association between China and high technology.

The subject of the article is the Comac C919, a proposed Chinese passenger jet in the same class as the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. The program is behind schedule, but industry observers in China seem undaunted:

In general, they hold no great fears for the schedule, if only because there is every sign that Comac is the recipient of such massive government support that it will be able to throw huge resources at any problem that arises. It is increasingly clear that the C919 enjoys a status more like that of the Chinese manned space program than that of a commercial industrial project—and that it is being funded accordingly.

And later in the article:

Funding is lavish. Executives in contact with the program find that Comac, seeking to overcome challenges, often seems to see money as no object. Facilities are massive, training is on a grand scale and salaries are high by Chinese standards. One Western company found that the competitive wages it pays its Chinese engineers are about half of what Comac is paying. 

Of course, none of this is unique to China. Boeing and Airbus get favourable treatment from their governments too.