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China Triumphant?


China is making huge strides in sophisticated industries, but skeptics say many of its products rely on imported technology and question whether mainland companies are innovative enough to compete overseas. Here are a few examples

AUTOS

BYD, Chery, and Geely dominate China's small-car market and generate lots of buzz about their electric vehicles. But they lag foreign brands in bigger models, and their cars may not meet Western quality and safety standards.

AIRLINERS

China's first commercial jet, the 90-seat ARJ21, hits the market next year, and a 190-seater is due by 2016. But experts say they're based on older McDonnell Douglas designs and that foreigners will supply the core systems.

CHIPS

The mainland has built eight silicon wafer plants since 2005. But last winter 60% of capacity was idle, and few Chinese chipmakers have ever been profitable. Moreover, China's technology is at least two generations behind global leaders.

SOLAR

China makes 35% of the world's solar cells, but it suffers from massive overcapacity. And its strength is in an older technology using polysilicon, while the market is shifting to harder-to-make cells based on flexible materials.

Data: iSuppli, Frost & Sullivan, BusinessWeek


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