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Expert: Build better engineers
( 2003-07-18 09:32) (China Daily)

Domestic engineering consultancies need to improve services to compete against foreign rivals and survive without government protection, according to their industry association.

She Jianming, president of the China National Association of Engineering Consultants (CNAEC), said yesterday economic globalization has made the need to build capacity among China's engineering consulting firms more urgent.

"It's a pressing task for us to come to grips with the international rules of the engineering consulting market," She said in the association's work report at the conference.

She admitted that most domestic engineering consultancies were currently supported by governments at various levels.

"But those days will end soon, as foreign consultants have started to share in China's market," said She.

She urged governments to cut ties with consulting companies, and do away with monopolies and protectionism in the sector.

Engineering consultants are responsible for advising on fixed asset investment capital. China's boom in infrastructure construction during the past two decades has generated much business for domestic companies.

Statistics indicate China has about 3,000 engineering consulting companies and some 500,000 people are employed in the sector.

At present, the companies provide advice on multi-billion-dollar projects funded by treasure bonds.

During the 1998-2002 period, China invested about 660 billion (US$79.5 billion) in infrastructure construction and the development of western regions.

"We should play a bigger role in helping the various levels of governments make decisions scientifically and democratically," said She.

Meanwhile, She has called on domestic consultants to become more competitive, as governments put more and more projects out to public tender.

Both domestic and overseas engineering companies have ample opportunities to profit in China as the country accelerates the pace of western development and launches projects for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

To upgrade the services offered by China's consulting companies, the former State Development Planning Commission launched a certification system for engineering consultants at the end of 2001.

By the end of April 2003, about 4,000 people had been certified as engineering consultants.

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