China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) announced in Beijing on Friday that it will set national standards for electronic labels, which are expected to trigger fierce competition among Chinese and foreign electronic manufacturers.

Electronic label, with the technical name of radio frequency identification (RFID), is widely used for identity verification, logistical tracking, storage and customs management.

Zhang Zhiwen, an official with the MOST, said, "We make reference to the international standards of ISO/IEC18000 for drafting our own RFID standards."

"We need to consider other major technical standards in some developed countries," Zhang said, but added that China will never yield to anyone’s pressure in adopting its own national standards.

Experts estimated that the RFID market in 2008 would reach a size as big as four billion U.S. dollars.

"The great potential of the domestic market should be used well to spur the domestic industry to reach a more capable level," Zhang said, adding that it’s urgent for the Chinese government to set national standards, covering physical features, interface protocols, reader protocols, coding system, application system and data management.

The ministry plans to establish a research and development base in the Zhangjiang hi-tech park in Shanghai. It also pledges to finance some labs of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to undertake such R&D projects.

China has already used the RFID technologies in personal ID administration, public transportation and some other areas.