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China Table of Contents


Transportation Equipment

The automotive industry, which grew substantially after 1949, did not keep pace with the demands of modernization. In the early 1980s demand was still low. A surge in demand resulted in the production of 400,000 vehicles and the importation of another 300,000 vehicles through early 1985. In the second half of 1985, stringent administrative measures curtailed most imports, and in early 1986 domestic production was reduced to 13 percent of that in early 1985. One cause for this was a large surplus created by high production and importation levels in 1984 and 1985. Although 1986 production levels were considered a short-term slowdown, the targets of the Seventh Five-Year Plan (1986-90) were quite low.

China's investment in the railroad industry during the Seventh Five-Year Plan was higher than that for any previous five-year plan, with an 80-percent increase over the Sixth Five-Year Plan (1981-85). The country allocated -Y10 billion to manufacture and purchase locomotives, with the remainder going to repair and renewal of obsolete equipment. During the Seventh Five-Year Plan, the Ministry of Railways set a production goal of 5,000 locomotives, including over 800 electric and over 2,000 diesel locomotives. The ministry also planned to manufacture 110,000 freight and 10,000 passenger cars. Despite these ambitious domestic production targets, China had to rely heavily on imported technology to modernize its railroad fleet.

From 1961 to 1987, China's maritime fleet grew faster than that of any other country in the world. During that time, the merchant fleet tonnage increased by an average 13.6 percent per year. From 1982 to 1987, Chinese shipyards produced fifty-five ships, including bulk cargo vessels, freighters, tankers, container ships, partial container ships, and passenger-cargo vessels, with a total dead-weight tonnage of more than 700,000 million. At the end of 1985, about 17 percent of China's merchant fleet was built domestically.

In the late 1950s, China began developing its own aircraft, known as the Yun, or Y-series. China built 135 civil aircraft between 1981 and 1985 and was scheduled to build hundreds more during the Seventh Five-Year Plan. Civil aircraft and aircraft engines were produced in large plants located primarily in Shanghai, Xi'an, Harbin, and Shenyang. Medium-sized factories produced the necessary test equipment, components, avionics, and accessories. China hoped for eventual self-reliance in all aircraft production, but it still imported planes in 1987.

Data as of July 1987