Much of the attention on PRC’s aircraft carrier programme has been previously focused on the ex-Soviet Navy Admiral Kuznetsov class carrier Varyag, which was 70% competed when its construction stopped in 1992 and later bought by a Chinese company based in Macau for commercial purpose. The 67,500t vessel has been docked at the Dalian Shipyard in northern China since 2002, reportedly to be commissioned by the PLA Navy as a training carrier after its refurbishment finished. However, despite the completion of the hull restoration and removal of the scaffolding on the ship bridge in late 2006, the installation of weapons, electronics and propulsion has yet started. In fact, little activities onboard the vessel has been spotted since then, suggesting that the project may have been put on a halt.
At the same time, new details began to emerge on a possible indigenous aircraft carrier programme carried out by the CSSC Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) Corporation at its newly built Changxing Shipbuilding Base. Some sources suggested that the PRC is planning to build 1~2 medium-size (50,000~60,000t displacement) carriers at the Changxing facility, possibly based on the design of the Varyag. If this turns out to be true, the first Chinese indigenously-built aircraft carrier could be expected to join the PLA Navy service by 2015.