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China has unveiled three-year plans to increase the country’s economic competitiveness by developing “key technologies” in nine industrial sectors, from robotics to railways.

The initiatives mark Beijing’s latest efforts to develop industries it deems will play a significant role the in the country’s economic development in the future.

Among the plans published by the National Development and Reform Commission on Tuesday is one to develop magnetic levitation trains able to travel at up to 600km/h by 2020.

Other areas include smart cars, robotics, advanced shipbuilding and maritime equipment, modern agricultural machinery, advanced medical devices and drugs, new materials, smart manufacturing and machine tools.

The aim is “to make China a powerful manufacturing country” and upgrade the nation’s industrial power through “the internet, big data and artificial intelligence”, the commission said.

To achieve that goal, the agency has laid out specific targets to develop key technologies and guide research and the flow of funds in each sector.

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Details for the automobile sector include encouraging greater use of computer chips by China’s big carmakers.

The commission also wants Chinese carmakers to develop hi-tech equipment such as high-definition cameras and precise electronic systems to warn drivers if they are in danger of collisions.

The government will coordinate research efforts by carmakers and “enhance funding support” to seek breakthroughs in technological research, the agency said.

Similar instructions and plans have been set out for the other eight industrial sectors.

The plans were published as China’s state-led industrial policies are receiving increased scrutiny among the country’s trade partners in the US and Europe.

The European Union introduced new rules last week to guard against excessively cheap imports where overseas manufacturers are alleged to have gained an advantage through unfair trade practices.

It singled out China for special attention in a report spelling out how its economy is distorted by government subsidies and preferential policies for state manufacturers.

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