It has sent rockets into space, produced millions of the world's smartphones and built high-speed trains. But until now, one bit of manufacturing had perhaps unexpectedly eluded China: the ballpoint pen.
A year ago Premier Li Keqiang went on national television and bemoaned the failure of his country to produce a good quality version of this seemingly-simple implement.
Locally-made versions felt "rough" compared to those from Germany, Switzerland and Japan, Mr Li complained.
The problem was not the body of the pen, but the tip - the tiny ball that dispenses ink as you write.
It might be something we take for granted, but making them requires high-precision machinery and very hard, ultra-thin steel plates.
Put simply, China's steel has not been good enough. And it has struggled to shape its pen tips accurately.