China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. (CSIC) is developing a manned submersible for dives to 4,500 meters (14,764 ft).
The move comes as part of a greater plan for the nation to eventually build a deep sea station where submersibles can dock and oceanauts can work.
CSIC, builders of the Jiaolong manned submersible, which made record dives to more than 7,000 meters in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench, said that the submersible has returned to its test base since completing deep sea diving missions, and it will be handed over for use after maintenance. The vessel will be used to conduct scientific research next year, the Beijing-based state-owned company said.
According to a report released at a recent press conference, CSIC, one of the world's top 500 companies, saw its revenues and profits grow 14 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in 2011, despite a crisis-stricken shipbuilding sector.