La pesadilla del sobreequipamiento de China

SHANGHAI – En 1958, el año del fracasado "Gran Salto hacia Adelante" de China, el Camarada Mao tenía grandes planes para la industria del acero. Si bien la producción había sido de apenas un poco más de cinco millones de toneladas en 1957, esperaba que el país alcanzara o incluso superara a los Estados Unidos para 1962, produciendo entre 80 y 100 millones de toneladas por año, y llegara a los 700 millones de toneladas por año a mediados de los años 70, convirtiendo así al país en el líder mundial indiscutido. Todo esto se debía lograr utilizando "hornos de patio trasero", manejados por gente común y corriente sin especialización técnica.

Hoy se ha logrado el sueño de Mao de alcanzar al resto del mundo (si bien un poco tarde), no sólo en cuanto a producción de acero, en que la capacidad anual ha llegado a los 660 millones de toneladas, sino también en muchos otros sectores. China ocupó el primer lugar en la producción de acero (cerca de la mitad de la producción mundial), cemento (también alrededor de la mitad), aluminio (cerca de un 40%) y vidrio (31%), para dar sólo algunos ejemplos. El país superó a EE.UU. en producción de automóviles en 2009 y va a la zaga sólo de Corea del Sur en construcción de barcos, con un 36% de la capacidad global.

Para los encargados de la planificación central en Beijing, sin embargo, el tamaño de la base industrial de China se ha convertido en razón de alarma más que de celebración. En un documento aprobado por el Consejo de Estado el 26 de septiembre, la Comisión Nacional de Desarrollo y Reforma (NDRC) advirtió de un serio sobreequipamiento en una amplia variedad de sectores. (El Consejo de Estado, que incluye al primer ministro, los vice-primeros ministros y los jefes de ministerios y comisiones, es la más alta autoridad ejecutiva de China.)

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