Wednesday, December 8, 2010

China Plans $1.5 Trillion Investment to Boost Seven Strategic Sectors

As the Obama administration central planners might say: "Money talks, I take the Metro."
From Reuters:
China is considering investments of up to $1.5 trillion over five years in seven strategic industries, sources said, a plan aimed at accelerating the country's transition from the world's supplier of cheap goods to a leading purveyor of high-value technologies.

Here is a look at what China is doing in the seven sectors.

China is fast reaching the point of economic development where millions of its citizens can afford their own car. That is a headache for the government because of pollution and carbon emissions and because China's refineries are already dependent on foreign suppliers for more than half their crude oil.
One alternative fuel source, ethanol made from crops, is deliberately restricted because China's government is keen to ensure supplies of corn and other grains reach the food market, which is already stretched by fast growing demand.
China's vehicle fleet has turned to many other power sources, including fuel cells, compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and even liquefied natural gas, which is most commonly associated with huge storage tanks aboard ocean-going tankers.
In June the government launched a pilot program in five cities to subsidize electric and hybrid cars. Among the beneficiaries was Warren Buffett-backed BYD Co Ltd (1211.HK).

China is slowly turning to biotechnology to improve crop yields, since demand is rising quickly but supply is constrained by a lack of available water resources and land area.
The chairman of state grains trading firm COFCO Ltd, Frank Ning, told Reuters in an interview earlier this week that technology was the key to keeping supply and demand in balance in the future.
"Using technology to produce more on the same land and maybe agricultural policy to give more incentive to the farmers to grow more to increase their productivity. The government is doing so, but I think the room to improve is still big," he said.

While the United States and other rich countries have embraced genetically modified crops, China approved the safety of its first GMO strains of corn and rice last year, paving the way for commercial production to begin in 2-3 years.

More than 20 GMO crops have been approved for field trials.
China's rapidly expanding demand has forced the government to accept imports of GMO soybeans and, since earlier in 2010, corn.

China is investing heavily to upgrade its infrastructure and leapfrog the developed world in areas such as electricity transmission and power metering.

With total power capacity set to reach 1,430 gigawatt by 2015 from 874 gigawatt at the start of 2010, China has to figure out how to bring trillions of kilowatt hours of power to more than a billion customers, sometimes over very long distances.

Premier Wen Jiabao called for "pushing forward with building a smart grid" in the annual report to the National People's Congress in March.

State Grid Corp of China, which operates the bulk of the country's power transmission networks, envisages building an "informationised, automatic and interactive" grid with ultra high voltage (UHV) power lines over the next five year....MORE