The fight for the middle: upgrading, competition, and industrial development in China

Publication Type: 
Journal Name: 
Volume: 
38
Number: 
11
Page Numbers: 
1555-1574
Published On: 
2010

When China acceded to World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, there were fears that Chinese firms would lose market share in key sectors to foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs). Although aggregate data often indicate a shift in favor of FIEs, indigenous firms in many cases have slowly increased market share and deepened their technical capabilities. Through an analysis of aggregate data and three sectors, we show how the dynamics of competition between Chinese and FIEs in China’s domestic market enhance the upgrading prospects for Chinese firms. China represents a new model of development in several important respects: industrial upgrading efforts are often domestically driven, within this domestic market there is intense competition between both domestic and foreign firms, and this competition is driving and stimulating the upgrading efforts of domestic firms.