It is hard to be considered a serious navel power without one; at least as far as projecting power is concerned. There is a big difference between planning to build one and actually having it. We will have to wait for more detailed plans (ex. size, aircraft armaments, range, defensive capabilities...) to see how much it will change the balance of power in the region.
Video embedded below.
"China has confirmed for the first time that it is preparing to build an aircraft carrier, a move set to heighten international concerns over the rapid expansion of its naval power.
Beijing announced its step quietly with one sentence buried at the end of a lengthy government publication.
“In 2009, China put forward a plan and a programme for building an aircraft carrier,” says China’s Ocean Development Report (2010), a book published in May by the State Oceanic Administration, a body under the Ministry of Land and Resources.
“This shows that China has started entering a new historic era of comprehensively building itself into a great naval power. [This] is China’s historic task for the entire 21st century,” the report said.
A senior Chinese defence official told the Financial Times two years ago that the world should not be surprised if China built an aircraft carrier. In March last year, Liang Guanglie, China’s minister of defence, told his Japanese counterpart that China would not remain forever the only major power without an aircraft carrier."