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To hit growth forecasts, China should rely on innovation

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China is not always synonymous with the concept of innovation. The country is instead more commonly seen as one that piggybacks on the ideas of others, using its vast labour force to mass produce the same goods more cheaply.           

中国并非总是创新的同义词。相反,中国更经常地被视为一个"山寨大国",即蹭其它国家的创意、用自己的庞大劳动力以更低成本生产相同产品的国家。

 

However, a report published on Wednesday by the McKinsey Global Institute claims innovation will need to account for as much as half of China's economic growth if Beijing is to hit consensus growth forecasts of 5.5 to 6.5 per cent a year in the coming decade.        

然而,麦肯锡全球研究所(MGI)周三发布的一份报告声称,如果未来十年中国想实现5.5%至6.5%的普遍增长率预测值,那么创新对中国经济增长的贡献率需要达到一半。

 

"If we don't see innovation on the scale that we are advocating, we would call the growth forecasts into question," says Jonathan Woetzel, a Shanghai-based director of the institute. "[If we do], the resulting 'China effect' on innovation has the potential to disrupt markets and industries and could reshape global competition."  

"如果创新达不到我们主张的规模,那么我们将对上述增长率预测打个问号,"MGI驻上海的主管华强森(Jonathan Woetzel)说,"(如果达到了),随之对创新产生的'中国效应'有潜力颠覆各个市场和行业,并可能重塑全球竞争格局。"

 

MGI points out that the traditional drivers of China's economic growth are weakening. Because of its ageing population, China's labour force could peak as early as next year and fall 16 per cent by 2050, it predicts. 

MGI指出,中国经济增长的几个传统引擎都在失去动力。MGI预测,由于人口老龄化,中国的劳动力可能最早在明年见顶,到2050年减少16%。

 

Moreover, with the easy yards already made, MGI says it now takes 60 per cent more capital to produce one unit of gross domestic product than it typically did between 1990 and 2010.            

此外,由于容易摘取的果实已经摘取,麦肯锡全球研究所表示,如今单位国内生产总值(GDP)所用的资本较1990年至2010年期间的一般水平高了60%。

 

As the first chart shows, $5.4 of capital are now needed to produce $1 of Chinese GDP, up from $3.4 between 1990 and 2010. MGI forecasts this will rise to $7.6 by the second half of the next decade, closer to current norms elsewhere in the world.              

如第一张图表(见下)所示,目前生产1美元GDP所需资本为5.4美元,高于1990年至2010年期间的3.4美元。MGI预测,到下个十年的后五年,这个数字将升高至7.6美元,向世界其他地区当前的普遍水平靠拢。


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Investment is also likely to be constrained by China's rising debt load that, at 282 per cent of GDP, according to MGI, is higher than in the likes of the US and Germany.                

投资也可能受到中国日益升高的债务负担的拖累。MGI数据显示,目前中国债务对GDP的比例为282%,高于美国和德国等国家的比例。

 

With growth in energy supply also likely to slow, MGI forecasts that GDP growth arising from an increased supply of the factors of production (labour, fixed capital and energy) will be only 3.4 per cent a year in the decade to 2025, down from 6.2 per cent between 2000 and 2010 and 5.6 per cent from 2010 to 2014.             

考虑到能源供应的增长也可能会放慢,MGI预测,截至2025年的十年里,增加生产要素(劳动力、固定资本和能源)投入对中国GDP增长率的贡献将仅为3.4个百分点,低于2000年至2010年的6.2个百分点和2010年至2014年的5.6个百分点。

 

To a large extent this is built into GDP forecasts, with expected growth of about 6 per cent in the next decade well below the 10.5 per cent rate achieved between 2000 and 2010 and the 8 per cent level seen from 2010 to 2014.            

GDP预测在很大程度上已经将这个因素考虑了进去:未来十年中国增长率预测值为约6%,远低于2000年至2010年期间的10.5%、以及2010年至2014年期间的8%。

 

But multifactorial productivity growth, squeezing more output out of each unit of input — which MGI is loosely defining as innovation — would still need to account for 35 to 50 per cent of future economic growth for China to meet expectations, up from 30 per cent at present (see the second chart).        

但多要素生产率(MFP,也称为全要素生产率(TFP)——译者注)增长(即从单位投入里获得更多产出,这也是MGI对创新的宽泛定义)对未来经济增长的贡献率仍需从现在的30%提高到35%至50%,中国才能实现预期增速。


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Using this definition of innovation, Mr Woetzel argues that China "has not only made more progress than it is given credit for, but it has also created new approaches to innovation that are faster, cheaper and can work on a global scale".              

使用对创新的这一定义,华强森提出,中国"不但取得了比外界承认的更快的进展,而且创造出了速度更快、成本更低且在全球范围内适用的新的创新途径"。

 

Yet this progress has been patchy. MGI divides industries into four types of innovation. It argues China has made most progress in what it terms "efficiency-driven" innovation, sectors where improvements in production processes, product design and supply-chain management are central, lowering costs and accelerating time to market.                 

不过,这一进步是分布不均的。MGI把各行业按照创新的类型分为四类。MGI认为,中国在属于其所称的"效率驱动型"创新的那一类行业中取得的进展最大,在这类行业里,生产流程、产品设计和供应链管理的改进发挥核心作用,其结果是成本降低、产品进入市场的时间缩短。

 

In nine of the 12 efficiency-driven industries MGI analysed, such as solar panels, generic pharmaceuticals and steel, China's share of global revenues is greater that its share of global GDP, at some 12 per cent as of 2013 (see the last chart).              

在MGI分析的12个效率驱动型行业中的9个行业,比如太阳能板、仿制药和钢铁,中国占全球收入的份额都高于2013年中国占全球GDP约12%的份额(如最后一张图表所示,见下)。


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Its success stories include Broad Construction, which assembled a 57-storey hotel in Changsha in just 19 days from prefabricated components, and Everstar, which allows consumers to customise clothing and receive the finished goods within 72 hours.            

中国在这一类行业的成功典范包括远大可建(Broad Construction)和爱斯达(Everstar)。前者使用预制模块化材料,仅用19天便在长沙盖起了一栋57层的高楼,后者提供定制服饰,顾客可在72小时内收到成品。

 

The country has also made headway in "customer-focused" industries, defined as ones where innovation involves "identifying and addressing customer needs to develop new products".

中国也在"以客户为中心的"行业里取得了进展,入选这一类别的行业需要满足的条件是,行业内的创新涉及"找出并应对客户需求,从而开发出新产品"。

 

Here China has an outsized share of three of MGI's seven sectors: household appliances, internet software and services, and internet retailing.          

 在这个类别里,中国在MGI所考察的7个行业的其中3个——家用电器、互联网软件和服务、以及网上零售——占据的份额超过中国占全球GDP的份额。

 

It remains weak in some sectors, such as smartphones, but this may be changing. MGI gives the example of smartphone maker Xiaomi, which has 1m "fans" who vote online for new features that then appear in weekly software updates.          

在智能手机等另外一些行业,中国的表现还不突出,但是情况或许正在改变。MGI给出了智能手机制造商小米(Xiaomi)的例子,后者拥有100万"粉丝"。这些粉丝在网上对一些新功能进行投票,入选的功能随后就会出现在每周的软件更新中。

 

However, McKinsey points to significant weaknesses in two other arenas. In engineering-based industries, where companies innovate by solving engineering problems, it found Chinese companies generated 41 per cent of global railway equipment revenues and 20 per cent of those for wind power but a disproportionately small share of revenue in areas such as autos and commercial aviation.         

然而,麦肯锡指出,中国在其他两类行业的表现明显较差。在基于制造的行业(在这些行业,企业是通过解决工程问题来创新)中,麦肯锡发现,中国企业占据全球铁路设备收入的41%,占据风力发电设备收入的20%,但是在汽车和商用航空等行业占据的收入份额小得不成比例。

 

The picture is worse still for science-based industries, where innovation involves making discoveries and turning them into products. In each of the four sectors here, such as branded pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, China is a weakling.               

在以科学为基础的行业,情况更糟,这里的创新包括探索新发现并将之转化为产品。在专利药和生物科技等4个行业中,中国的表现无一例外都很弱。

 

Overall, MGI says China's service industries are only 15 to 30 per cent as productive as the average across the (mostly advanced) OECD nations. Internet-based innovations to expand services, improve quality and make service delivery more efficient could create value of $550bn to $1.4tn a year by 2015, the institute says.               

总而言之,MGI称,中国的服务业行业的生产率仅相当于经合组织(OECD)国家(大多为发达国家)平均水平的15%-30%。该机构称,到2015年,通过扩大服务范围、提高服务品质和服务提供效率,基于互联网的创新每年可创造5500亿美元至1.4万亿美元的价值。

 

In manufacturing, China's advantage of low labour costs has started to erode. However, MGI says its still relatively cheap labour and "superior ecosystem" give it "compelling" advantages in "next-generation" manufacturing, encapsulating advances such as the embedding of internet-of-things sensors in all products, advanced robotics and 3D printing.             

在制造业,中国劳动力成本低廉的优势已经开始消失。然而,MGI称,中国仍然相对低廉的劳动力成本及"优越的行业生态环境"使之在"新一代"制造业——比如在所有产品中嵌入物联网传感器、高级机器人以及3D打印等先进制造业——占据"绝对"优势。

 

The could create value of $450bn to $780bn a year by 2025, making a total of $1tn to $2.2tn a year, although this still falls short of the $3tn to $5tn a year McKinsey calculates China will have to generate from innovation to meet consensus growth forecasts.              

到2025年,这每年可以创造4500亿至7800亿美元的价值,再加上基于互联网的创新每年可以创造的价值,总值可达到每年1万亿至2.2万亿美元,不过这仍未达到3万亿至5万亿美元的目标值——据麦肯锡估计,中国要达到普遍增长率预测值,每年从创新中创造的价值必须达到这个范围。

 

It says Beijing can do more to help by expanding access to capital for small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs, enhancing the quality of regional innovation clusters, improving protection of intellectual property and upgrading the allocation of funding for scientific research.麦肯锡称,中国可以通过为中小型企业和创业者扩大融资渠道、提升地区创新集群的质量、加强知识产权保护、以及增加科研经费拨款来推动这一目标的实现。

 

"China has the potential to evolve from an 'innovation sponge', absorbing and adapting existing technology and knowledge from around the world, into a global innovation leader," says Mr Woetzel.               

"中国有潜力从只吸收和修改世界各地现有技术和知识的'创新海绵',转变为全球创新领头羊,"华强森表示。

 

 "Our analysis suggests that this transformation is possible, though far from inevitable."             

"我们的分析表明,这种转型尽管远非板上钉钉,但却是可能实现的。"

2016-06-23

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