Survey: Chinese and American attitudes to industry
In 2013, on behalf of Fives' Plants of the Future Observatory, research institute Ifop did a poll of the Chinese and American people, echoing the same survey that had been conducted in France one year before.
Conducted at a time of globalization in world trade, this survey shows that, just as in France, the values conveyed by industry are positive, although expectations and levels of optimism vary between these three countries, which are at different stages in their industrial history.
Chinese and Americans are enthusiastic about European industry
China and the USA are united in their perceived image of European industry, which is very positive overall: they believe it to be innovative (92% and 80% respectively) and competitive (92% and 76%), and that as a result, it plays an important role in global industry (91% and 78%) and will continue to do so in the future (81% in both countries). So the Chinese ans Americans are a great deal more enthusiastic than the French themselves, 54% of whom believe that is not longer possible to reindustrialize France due to competition from emerging countries! French perceptions of the overall image of the industry are also much more pessimistic than those of people in China and America: only 36% see it as an appealing sector of the economy, especially for young people, compared with 82% in China and 67% in the USA.
Far from adopting the traditionally downbeat attitude to industry, people in France, China and the USA share the same optimistic vision of industry and the potential for economic growth it represents: respondents in all three countries agree that industry is an economic sector of the future, as long as its focus is on cutting-edge industries (France 82%, China 83% and the USA 87%).
The plant of tomorrow
France, China and the USA: respondents in all three countries share the same vision of the industrial plan of tomorrow. Most importantly, it will be innovative (88%, 93% and 84% respectively), international in outlook (85%, 87% and 81%) and more environmentally friendly as a result of reducing its consumption of energy and raw materials (81%, 86% and 83%). The most optimistic views come from China, where there is clear confidence about what the industrial plant of tomorrow will be, and very high expectations about its more effective integration into the urban environment (63%, compared with 15% in France and 23% in the USA). When asked about the possibility of building clean industrial plants, the Chinese feel that this would, not be possible at the moment, but could be envisaged in the future (56%, compared with only 23% in France and 19% in the USA).
The current state of the Chinese industry crystallizes high expectations amongst the population in respect of environmental protection: 63% of Chinese respondents cite this value as the most important to be respected by any industrial plant, compared with only 46% of French respondents and 40% of Americans.
A very strong attachment to industry
France, China and the USA share the same positive vision of the values described by the terms "innovation", "engineer", "work" and "enterprise", all of which attract the agreement of almost all those individuals interviewed.
Differences emerge over the term "industrial plant", which has positive connotations for only 55% of French respondents, compared with 79% of Chinese respondents and 69% of Americans. It is notably the case that social perceptions of industrial plants and the working conditions experienced by those who work in them are where the greatest differences can be seen between the USA and China on the one hand, and France in the other. In the USA and China, more respondents believe that industrial plants create jobs (90% and 86% respectively, compared with 69% in France), that they create a social link (77% and 82%, compared with 68%) and that those who work in them are given responsibility (92% and 65%, compared with 55%).
Interestingly, these wide discrepancies have a direct parallel in people feeling that they are ill-informed about industrial plants and what they do: 86% of French respondents feel that the general public knows too little about industrial plants, compared with only 39% in China and 65% in the USA.