Orders won by Chinese shipbuilders dropped more than 6 percent in the first seven months of this year due mainly to prolonged uncertainties in the global economy, an industry association said Tuesday. The China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry said its members clinched orders totaling 176.08 million deadweight tons (DWTs) in the January-July period, down 6.4 percent from a year earlier. The shipbuilders\' new orders fell 29.2 percent on-year to 23.58 million DWTs during the period, it said. The association attributed the drop to ongoing turmoil in the global economy. China rose as the world\'s top shipbuilder in 2009, outpacing South Korea in the number of new orders received and order backlogs as its builders attracted new custom with relatively cheaper prices. South Korea, however, regained its position of having the most new shipbuilding orders in the first half of this year, by securing deals for large, value-added vessels, according to global market researcher Clarkson Research Services. South Korean firms have continued to focus on high-priced vessels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and offshore facilities. Zhang Changtao, a researcher at the China Ship Marketing Research Center, said China\'s shipbuilders need to raise their technical and management skills in order to stay competitive amid increased volatility in the world economy.