In KANBrief 2/21 (Commission for Occupational Health and Safety and Standardization), freelance journalist Stefan Krempl outlined China's long-term standardization strategy in an article. With its "China Standards 2035" strategy, the Chinese standards organization SAC is pursuing the goal of occupying technologically significant standardization fields by staffing the secretariats with its own experts. The major goal is to be the technological world market leader by the 100th birthday of the People's Republic in 2049. As a milestone, it already wants to establish itself in certain key technologies such as artificial intelligence.
- 2025: Moving up the global value chain,
- 2035: mid-table among the leading industrial nations, and finally
- 2049: leading industrial nation
(Source: Germany Trade & Invest, webinar of May 11, 2021, www.gtai.de)
They are already leading in the field of patent applications. In parallel, the Chinese government has recognized that standardization can be used as a strategic tool to assert its claim to leadership. To this end, the government is pursuing a multi-pronged strategy:
- It is standardizing the national standardization system,
- placing its experts in management positions at ISO and IEC, and
- it is attempting to export its own standards to the countries involved - in particular Africa, Asia and Europe - through the "New Silk Road (Belt and Road)" initiative.
The research project "China Standards 2035" is the breeding ground for this approach. SAC, the Academy of Engineering Sciences, universities and research institutes were involved in this project. The project investigated how the standardization system can support China's political goals. The results were presented to the State Council in early 2020. An official final report has not yet been published.
However, an unpublished paper is being discussed by the State Council as a template for a new Chinese standardization strategy. On June 7, 2021, Ms. Sibylle Gabler, Head of Government Relations at DIN gave a presentation on "International standardization in the field of new technologies as part of geopolitical competition" at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee. According to the motto "He who makes the standard has the market," different countries around the world have different philosophies, Gabler said. China, in contrast to the U.S. and Europe, pursues a top-down, state-driven approach. (for more, see "Further information")
Germany and the U.S. still lead most secretariats at ISO and IEC. However, China has caught up very strongly in recent years and is investing immense resources in taking over project leadership. New topics at ISO no longer necessarily come from Germany. Accordingly, joint efforts and a clear strategy in dealing with China are needed. We will address this topic in our "Product Compliance" conference on September 9, 2021.
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