Tra continuità e rottura: logiche e politiche di sviluppo e innovazione dell’industria spaziale cinese - Between Continuity and Rupture: the Logic and Policies of Development and Innovation of the Chinese Space Industry
China’s space industry is currently undergoing profound transformations, steered by the country’s deep-rooted resolve to become a technologically innovative powerhouse. The space sector has indeed become one of the busiest laboratories in which new models of innovation and industrial paradigms are being tested. A more dynamic and commercially driven approach to space has emerged in the process, characterized by new entrants and ambitious undertakings aimed at capturing space markets with innovative business approaches. In this new ecosystem, private actors have started to play a more prominent role, with dozens of entrepreneurs each year kick-starting space ventures to market innovative solutions at both ends of the sector’s value-chain and promising to disrupt the way space activities are conducted in China. Against this background, the article provides an assessment of the current policies and instruments deployed by the Chinese government to harness technological innovation and steer industrial development in the space sector. It reviews the main elements of continuity and change with previous policies, placing a particular emphasis on the government’s efforts to attain truly independent innovations, ensure a coordinated development of national space activities and foster a double integration between civil-military and public-private stakeholders’ undertakings. In doing so, the article also offers a comprehensive mapping of the new ecosystem that emerged out of these policies, shedding light on both its structural limits and its potential for growth and influence on the international space economy.