Focus topics

Standards used strategically

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  • Contrary to the EU and US system, the state has a dominant grip on the standardization processes in China. It is also aspiring to increase China’s voice in international standardization bodies, illustrating how politically important standardization is in Beijing’s view.
  • Standard-setting is aligned with strategic industrial policy objectives and technical standardization committees driving the adoption of standards are often chaired by organizations closely associated with the state.
  • The adoption of unique Chinese standards is tilting the playing-field towards domestic companies. According to a VDMA/Sinolytics survey of German machinery firms, 38.7% of companies report higher costs and competitive disadvantage due to the divergence of Chinese and international standards.
  • Currently, only around 1/3 of new standards each year are adopted from international standards. The newly published “National Standardization Development Outline” states an adoption rate of 85% by 2025, but implementation remains vague.
  • The “National Standardization Development Outline” also mentions the transition to a market-led standardization system, but simultaneously stresses the clear steering function of the state over the process.

Sinolytics is a European consulting and analysis company that focuses entirely on China. It advises European companies on strategic orientation and specific business activities in China.


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