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Marintec China: Technology innovation, financing are key to China's maritime growth

Marintec China: Technology innovation, financing are key to China's maritime growth
Sustainable long term growth for China’s maritime sector should be modelled on continual technological innovation in the shipbuilding industry and promoting prudent ship financing, according to Professor Zhang Shengkun at Shanghai Society of Naval Architects & Ocean Engineers (SSNAOE).

Zhang, who is also chairman of the organising committee for Marintec China 2015, pointed out that with the Chinese shipbuilding industry going through a consolidation phase, the surviving shipbuilders would need to continually sharpen their technological edge and innovation if they are to stay competitive on the global stage.

“The yard facilities and technology at Chinese yards are not that far behind its rivals like Japan and South Korea. The key issue is that at the management level, Chinese yards need to have a change of mentality, and focus on good service, quality marketing, before the constant chase for profits,” Zhang told Seatrade Maritime News.

He added that during this year’s Marintec China happening in Shanghai from 1-4 December 2015, one of the hot topics would be on technological innovation and its importance.

Maritime financing is another key issue worthy of debate and discussion during the Senior Maritime Forum, held concurrently with the trade exhibition.

“The Chinese government does have policies that encourage financing and it has asked the banks to remain open to the shipping sector. But in the end, market forces would still take hold and the industry will eventually balance itself out – the bottom-rung, speculative businesses would have to shut down while the better ones will find the necessary policy and financing support,” Zhang explained.

He added that while state-owned corporations clearly have advantages in terms of gaining access to financing, the privately-owned enterprises, on the other hand, would have to find their own areas of speciality in order to survive.

The 18th edition of the biennial Marintec China returns this year with a record number of over 2,000 exhibiting companies and more than 60,000 visitors are expected.

To accommodate the far larger scale of this year’s event, the fair will occupy an exhibition aera estimated at more than 80,000 square metres, compared to over 70,000 square metres at the 2013 edition.

Michael Duck, executive vice president of UBM Asia, co-organiser of Marintec China, said: “China remains the world’s biggest ship manufacturer. With the lion’s share of their output targeted at the overseas market, Chinese shipbuilders keep tabs on the significant developments in international maritime that will affect how ships are constructed.”