China’s entry into the Information Age is a moment of enormous importance. It has been on the cards for quite some time, but Cocom restrictions on high technology exports to the PRC and, until recently, the lack of an electronics industrial base in China, has held the development back. The official estimate of the number of computers in Mainland China for 1994 is no more than 2 million, a rise from 3,300 in 1982, which, ignoring replacement, is an annual increase of less than 200,000. But the pace is now accelerating rapidly, with the increase in 1994 estimated at 700,000 and forecasts for 1995 of over 1 million. Currently foreign companies capture around 80 per cent of the market, but the powerful Ministry of Electronic Industries (MEI) is attempting to regroup local production around fewer, larger consortia to foster local design and manufacturing capability.
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