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The People’s Republic of China’s High-Tech Exports : Myth and Reality

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  • Yuqing Xing

    (Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI))

Abstract

Trade statistics portray the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the largest exporter of high-tech products. In this paper I will argue that the PRC’s leading position in high-tech exports is a myth created by outdated trade statistics which are inconsistent with trade based on global supply chains. Current trade statistics mistakenly credit entire values of assembled high-tech products to the PRC, thus greatly inflating its exports. In 2009, the PRC’s value-added accounted for only about 3% of the total value attributed to its exports of iPhones and laptop personal computers. Moreover, 82% of the PRC’s high-tech exports were produced by foreign-invested firms, in particular Taipei,China-owned companies. In this paper I will argue that a value-added-based approach should be adopted to accurately measure high-tech exports. Furthermore, if assembly is the only source of the value-added generated by PRC workers, in terms of technological contribution these assembled high-tech exports are no different from labor-intensive products, and so they should be excluded from the high-tech classification.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Macroeconomics Working Papers with number 23320.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:eab:macroe:23320

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Keywords: High-tech exports; PRC; global supply chains; assembled high-tech products; trade statistics;

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