context: In Beijing’s push to restore stability in an economy disrupted by COVID measures, supply chain security is once again brought to the top of the agenda. By prioritising production resumption at companies deemed key to supply chain effectiveness in strategic industries, Beijing is looking to shield a number of its key strategic sectors from the impact of ongoing COVID-related issues.

Acknowledging the challenges faced by supply chains and the wider economy due to COVID disruptions, Xu Xiaolan 徐晓兰 MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) vice-minister commented on 31 May on the measures implemented by the ministry to stabilise supply chain operations, in particular the ‘whitelist’ mechanism. Xu highlighted that the ministry has established a system of whitelisting key firms in the industries related to materials for pandemic control and healthcare, living essentials, agriculture production, and strategic industries. Specifically, the ministry will build platforms for supply chain coordination for key industries such as automobiles and integrated circuits, and focus on key regions such as the Yangtze River Delta to ensure good operations in supply chains and the broader industrial economy.

So far, the ministry-level whitelist includes 1,722 companies, including 447 ‘technologically advanced’ companies and 214 foreign or joint-venture companies, while about 208,000 companies are on the provincial whitelists, reported Southern Metropolis Daily. Measures to restore supply chain stability will prioritise the whitelisted companies, which include leading companies in the supply chains for automobile, integrated circuits, consumer electronics, equipment manufacturing, agricultural materials, and food and drugs, commented Luo Junjie 罗俊杰 MIIT spokesperson.

Xu Xiaolan did emphasise that the ‘whitelist’ mechanism is only a temporary measure in the government’s phased plan to assist the resumption of all work and production. She referred to the State Council’s comprehensive measures to boost the economy and outlined the ministry’s three priorities to stabilise the industrial economy, which are to

  • protect key supply chain operations
  • effectively implement relevant policy measures
  • increase investment and consumption