An employee makes a cylinder for a steam turbine at a heavy machinery production facility in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, on Jan 2. [Photo by Yao Haixiang/For China Daily] China's industrial output grew by 2.8 percent on a yearly basis in 2020, on the back of a strong performance in the high-tech and equipment manufacturing sectors, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday. The upward trend is expected to continue this year, as the efforts to maintain the stability of industrial chains generate a more positive effect, and more measures are taken to help export-oriented manufacturers, experts said. NBS said that the industrial output of the high-tech manufacturing segment grew by 7.1 percent in 2020, while equipment manufacturing grew by 6.6 percent on a yearly basis. Ning Jizhe, head of the NBS, said the output of several high-tech manufacturing products increased in 2020, such as 3D-printing equipment, smartwatches, civil drones and semiconductor wafers. Output of these products more than doubled last year on the back of strong market demand. When it comes to specific figures for the fourth quarter of 2020, industrial output grew by 7.1 percent, 1.3 percentage points faster than that recorded in the third quarter, Ning said. China's industrial chain and supply chains remained basically stable. In 2020, 25 of China's 41 industries saw year-on-year growth, five more than the number of industries that grew over the first three quarters of last year, NBS said. "China's industrial economy, especially the manufacturing sector, has shown a steady recovery trend on a quarterly basis," Ning said. Last year, China's manufacturing output expanded by 3.4 percent, faster than the overall industrial average of 2.8 percent. Qin Hailin, president of the China Center for Information Industry Development Consultancy, a Beijing-based consultancy, said the uptrend in China's industrial output is likely to continue this year, as high-tech manufacturing products have maintained a good momentum. Last year, the output of industrial robots, new energy vehicles, and microcomputer equipment increased by 19.1 percent, 17.3 percent, 12.7 percent, respectively, on a yearly basis, according to NBS data. More efforts will also be made to further stabilize supply chains, which can help export-oriented manufacturers better deal with the fallout from the COVID-19, Qin said. Last month, the annual tone-setting Central Economic Work Conference outlined key tasks for 2021 in eight aspects, including efforts to improve industrial and supply chains, to create a more independent and controllable position. Ye Shengji, deputy secretary-general of the Beijing-based China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said sales of new energy vehicles in China are likely to grow by more than 30 percent on a yearly basis in 2021 to 1.8 million units, as favorable market situations are expected to continue. The estimates are based on positive factors, such as the supply chain of NEVs getting increasingly mature, and consumers becoming increasingly willing to buy such products this year, Ye said.