China: the world’s top manufacturing nation  
China: the world's top manufacturing nation
While the United States of America has enjoyed premier position as the world's top manufacturing nation for over a century, this prestigious spot is now claimed by China. According to a report by the American consultancy firm HIS Global, the 110-year reign US came to an end in 2010. While American manufacturing output accounted for 19.4% of the global total, this figure was eclipsed by China, who enjoyed a 19.8% the share of the market.
Traditionally, China's manufacturing base has been dependent on relatively cheaper products, like appliances and textiles, with American companies producing higher denomination groups such as aircraft, medical and scientific equipment, industrial machinery and media industry-related items. In recent times there has been a seismic shift in China's manufacturing potential. While recognising the continuing appeal of the traditional output, especially for emerging countries, China is increasingly embracing the latest technological advances and innovations.
Partially driven by its strong trade links with Japan, a nation which has been at the forefront of technological innovation for some time, Chinese manufacturing output is now spreading into all manner of contemporary areas. Advances in the way the pharmaceutical industry operates in China have led to a boom in drug research and other health-related scientific investigation. This has prompted increases in the production of many drugs and medicines previously seen as a sector dominated by Western companies.
Another area where there have been change is in electronics. China has long been dominated by foreign owned firms. Again, this is a situation which is evolving constantly changing as China continues to forge its own identity in potentially lucrative global markets.
Economic historians have stated that China enjoyed around a third of the world's manufacturing output in the mid-19th century. By 1990 this had dipped to 3%. However, China has been successfully utilising its labour cost advantage and manufacturing skills to attract considerable overseas investments. This has created a massive shift in the nation's manufacturing potential. Government subsidies have helped this situation considerably, helping to push resources towards a domestically based manufacturing sector.
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