The value of China's industrial output in the first two months of this year was 18 per cent higher than in the same period of 2002, according to National Bureau of Statistics figures. The bureau said that the highest production increases were recorded in telecoms equipment, computers and cars. The State Economic and Trade Commission had forecast that industrial production would rise by about 12 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2003 and by 10 per cent over the year as a whole.
The agency attributed the surge in production to foreign companies opening factories in China to produce for export and to meet rising demand for consumer goods from the newly prosperous middle class. It cited the example of LG Philips, a joint venture that has invested more than US$200m in production lines in Nanjing and Changsha that are capable of producing a total of 20m cathode-ray tubes a year for televisions and computer monitors.