Manufacturers strike upbeat note
Exporters gain as companies upgrade products, technology
Chinese manufacturers and exporters have turned bullish on the economic outlook and external demand, expressing willingness to expand output and investment as official data on Wednesday showed an improvement in the country’s foreign trade.
Xinshen Group Co Ltd, a manufacturer of fine linen products based in Wujiang, Jiangsu province, is expected to increase its total output value by 5 to 10 percent this year from 500 million yuan ($77.3 million) last year, according to Li Jianfeng, its general manager.
The company also plans to invest about 5 million yuan in research and innovation of products and methods to satisfy customers’ needs.
“The export situation is trending upward due to the better atmosphere for traditional manufacturing-based companies to add innovation to the products,” Li said.
Zhang Bin, general manager of a Shanghai-based manufacturer and exporter of steel products, said that overseas demand for his company’s products is set to increase in the coming months.
“Most of the export manufacturers like us have been busy dealing with regular and new clients since mid-March. More orders are expected to come in,” Zhang said.
Zhang’s optimism was echoed by Yang Shan, general manager of Shenzhen Skymen Cleaning Equipment Co.
Yang said overseas demand for the company’s smart cleaning equipment has steadily increased since late last year.
China’s exports in yuan-denominated terms surged 18.7 percent year-on-year in March, while imports dipped 1.7 percent, accordingto customsdata.
While the rebound in exports has partly to do with the low base in the same period last year, economists said the better-than-expected data suggest that China’s economic growth momentum improved in March after weak performance in January and February.
“We continue to expect core activity data including industrial production, fixed-asset investment and retail sales growth, whicharealldueonFriday, to pick up in March,” said Yang Zhao, chief China economist atNomura Securities.
Official data also showed that China’s exports to emerging markets and countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative rose in the first quarter of the year while trade with major trading partners such as the European Union, the United States and ASEAN countries has declined.
For example, exports to Pakistan increased by 26.4 percent year-on-year and exports to IndiaandRussia roseby6.1 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively, according to customs data, which was consistent with what companies have experienced in the changes of their orders.
Instead of only receiving a large amount of orders from European countries and the US, Li, the general manager of the linen company in Jiangsu province, said he has started taking orders from emerging markets such as Southeast Asian countries.
Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou contributed to the story
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