The government will spare no effort to boost private companies’ participation in the research, development and production of weapons and other military equipment, according to a senior official.
Long Hongshan, chief engineer at the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, which oversees China’s defense industries, told a news conference on Dec 6 that the administration will make a list of companies qualified to accept military contracts — regardless of their ownership — and will treat State-owned companies and private ones equally when allocating State funds.
The administration will produce regulations for public bidding and outsourcing of weapons, subsystems and components, Long said. He added that it will also streamline review procedures for applications from private companies and will allow them to design and make more kinds of military hardware and software that are currently out of their permitted scopes.
The official said his administration will work with military authorities to improve their websites that publish outsourcing information, noting it has required its local branches to collect information on private companies and report it to State-owned defense giants and the military.
Private companies are also encouraged to actively reach out to State-owned contractors and the military to make them aware of their capabilities, according to Long.
The administration held the news conference to brief reporters about its measures to implement the Guidelines on Deepening the Civil-Military Integration in the Defense Technology Industry, which was published by the State Council on Dec 4.
The guidelines were reviewed and passed by the second plenary session of the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development in late September.
In China, the civil-military integration strategy generally refers to the military and defense industry transferring technologies to civilian sectors, and including private companies on the military’s suppliers list. So far, State-owned defense contractors still dominate the research, development and production of weapons and equipment for the People’s Liberation Army.
President Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed the significance of civil-military integration, and speaks of the matter each time he addresses an important military meeting.
In March, the President told military deputies to the national legislature that the PLA must take advantage of China’s achievements in science and technology to help modernize its weapons and equipment. He said that civilian and military technologies are increasingly connected. He also asked the military to pay more attention to science and technology and to speed up civilian-defense integration.
The PLA now publishes its needs in technology, equipment and services on a procurement website on a regular basis, saying qualified private companies are welcome to offer their products and services.