Chinese manufacturing remains second to none

China's "Made in China 2025" manufacturing plan might succeed on its more modest goals, says Stephen Dyer, a partner in Bain & Company's Shanghai office. The plan's immediate aims are to improve quality, productivity and digitization, and to expand the use of numerically controlled machines, which, Dyer notes, are already in common use by world-class manufacturers in other countries. China's state planners also want to help companies leapfrog to the forefront of technology by encouraging the adoption of advanced techniques, but factories will only invest where it makes commercial sense. "You can’t push this onto firms," says Dyer. "They just won't do it if it's irrational."