World shipbuilding production: In 2004, South Korea won the title of world's largest shipbuilding nation, beating out Japan for the first time. But South Korea is already looking over its shoulder at China, which has embarked on a path toward becoming the world's largest shipbuilder by 2015. The explosion in trade in and out of China has created a worldwide shortage of ships. Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, and Samsung Heavy Industries, are letting Chinese yards win contracts for low-end tankers and bulk carriers, in order to have an edge over the Chinese. The three major South Korean shipbuilders won almost 90 percent of the more complex and lucrative LNG tanker contracts awarded this year. But China is currently the world's third largest shipbuilding nation, winning 14 percent of worldwide orders in 2004. Japan comes in second with 24 percent. While South Korea is far ahead with 40 percent, China still plans to grow its industry. Two of its yards are already starting to build their own LNG tankers. See "Korea reigns in shipbuilding, for now," James Brooke, The New York Times at International Herald Tribune, 1/5/05.
Chen Xiaojin, general manager of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, has stated his company will become the world's largest shipbuilder both in terms of production volume, and in terms of shipbuilding science and technology. China Daily's article "Shipbuilding industry advancing" presents a detailed description of China's shipbuilding sector (1/5/05).
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