The People's Republic of China's (PRC) central government recently affirmed shipbuilding as a "strategic industry" in need of "special oversight and support."1 This stems from its ability to create jobs in shipyards, marine sub-component sectors, and supporting industries such as the steel industry, thus helping to meet national economic growth objectives in a country that must create more than ten million urban jobs each year.
Shipbuilding also garners its "strategic" moniker due to its unique status as both a driver and beneficiary of China's growing slice of the global maritime pie. The maritime industry directly accounted for approximately ten percent of China's GDP in 2006, and China's overall dependence on the maritime sector is even higher given China's reliance on seaborne shipping to import vast quantities of raw materials and move equally large amounts of finished goods to markets overseas. Finally, while many yards are still nominally state-owned, in practice, Beijing's maritime policymaking must react to rapidly evolving commercial shipbuilding market forces and shipping interests that pull policymakers in their wake.