Currently, China’s industrial basic capacity construction should focus on supporting and promoting industrial modernization. Based on the two dimensions of industrial technological innovation capability and industrial public service capability, an industrial basic capability evaluation index system containing 28 basic indicators is constructed. The entropy method is used to calculate the industrial basic capability index of 277 prefecture-level cities in China from 2003 to 2017, and the kernel density estimation method, Moran index, σ convergence test and other methods are used to analyze the time series evolution, distribution dynamics, spatial correlation and convergence of the industrial basic capacity of the sample as a whole, three major zones, six major regions, and six urban agglomerations. The results show that during the sample period, the industrial basic capacity of the whole country and each region has been improved significantly, but the distribution characteristics are different; there is a significant spatial autocorrelation between the industrial basic capacity of each province, but most provinces belong to low-high agglomeration and low-low agglomeration, and the industrial basic capacity and the driving effect of diffusion zone need to be improved; on the whole, the absolute and relative differences in industrial basic capacity among cities gradually expand, showing an obvious trend of differentiation; additionally, divergence tends to weaken (or converge) in areas with a higher level of economic development, while divergence tends to strengthen in areas with a lower level of economic development. Therefore, it is necessary to vigorously improve the industrial technological innovation capacity and industrial public service capacity, and optimize the industrial spatial layout, alleviate the trend of widening differences in industrial basic capacity between regions, lay down an advanced industrial base, realize the modernization of industrial chain, so as to effectively promote industrial modernization.