High-tech, industrial firms choosing Shanxi as a base for growth
The Baidu cloud computing center is among the latest investment projects in the eastern Shanxi city of Yangquan. [Photo by Li Shu for China Daily]
More than 1,400 projects are secured by plethora of development zones and parks across northern Chinese province in just a 15-month period
With a business environment improving sustainably, economic development zones and industrial parks in the North China province of Shanxi are growing in appeal to investors at home and abroad.
One example is Yuncheng Economic and Technological Development Zone in the southern Shanxi city of Yuncheng.
Shanxi Beitong New Material Technology is a copper and copper alloy manufacturing enterprise founded in the zone in January 2020.
Zhang Baoning, deputy general manager of the company, said he and his colleagues are amazed at the efficiency of local administrators.
"From environmental assessment to permission for construction, it took only 15 days," Zhang said.
This is also the case in Shanxi Transformation and Comprehensive Reform Demonstration Zone located in the cities of Taiyuan and Jinzhong.
Li Xiaoqiang, an executive of a high-tech company newly established in the zone, said it took 15 days for the company to complete all the procedures ranging from land acquisition to beginning construction.
Shanxi now sees industrial zones and parks as a driving force for local economic growth. And authorities in the zones view improving business environment as a crucial part of attracting investors.
In the Taiwan Industrial Park of Gaoping Economic and Technological Development Zone in the city of Gaoping, more than 10 factories are about to be completed.
Zhou Jianfeng, an official of the park's administrative office, said these buildings will be leased to enterprises at a favorable rate upon completion.
"We make it a common practice in our zone that projects can begin operations right away once they are approved," Zhou said. "In addition to those under construction, we have plans to build more factory and office buildings."
The Taiwan Industrial Park is an investment destination targeting businesses from Taiwan province. According to Zhou, the park is now hosting projects with a pledged investment totaling 7 billion yuan ($1.03 billion). The investments are mainly in the medicine and health food industries, especially those relating to the development of local medicinal herbs.
To date, the industrial park has completed factory buildings with a total floor space of 120,000 square meters, offering premises for 18 enterprises, according to Zhou. He added that another 100,000 sq m of similar buildings are now under construction.
Elsewhere in the Gaoping development zone, Beijing-headquartered 3D-printing equipment producer Kangshuo Group is busy building its second- and third-phase projects after its first phase became operational in the zone a year ago.
According to Li Yong, deputy general manager of Kangshuo Group's Shanxi branch, the second-phase project－with an investment of 150 million yuan－is now in the equipment-installation stage. Operations are expected to begin at the end of May.
The executive said that as a key intelligent manufacturing enterprise in Shanxi, Kangshuo's Gaoping facility has won much support from local authorities. The administrators' highly efficient and considerate services are the main reasons for the company to begin operations so quickly and smoothly, he added.
"Our three phases of operations will range from molding and alloy production to printing machine manufacturing," Li Yong said. "This facility can help to form a complete 3D-printing industrial chain in Shanxi."
In Yangquan in the east of Shanxi, Shenzhen-based Jonter Digital Technology launched a new company in the city's high-tech industrial development zone.
According to Kou Zhiqiang, a senior executive of Jonter Shanxi, the new company was founded in June 2021. It began construction of its production plant in July that year and saw the operation of its first production line by September.
"From the project's founding in June to trial production in September, it only took three months," Kou said. "This is something we could not imagine in the past."
The company now produces about 7,000 sets of intelligent wearable devices every day. "After it becomes fully operational, it will produce about 30,000 sets a day or more than 10 million sets a year," Kou said.
Jonter in Yangquan is also the original equipment manufacturer for internet company Baidu's Xiaodu smart speakers.
He said it was the business-friendly environment and welcoming services provided by officials that prompted Jonter's decision to launch its business in Yangquan.
"We will not only focus on our own growth, but contribute to boosting Yangquan's economic development and industrial upgrading," Kou said.
In Shanxi Transformation and Comprehensive Reform Demonstration Zone, Huayang Jolywood, a company founded by Jiangsu province-based Jolywood Solar Technology, has enjoyed the same high-quality services from local authorities.
"It took less than three months to complete all the procedures to keep our project running, from negotiation and agreement signing to plant construction," said Lin Jianwei, board chairman of Huayang Jolywood.
Jolywood Solar Technology is one of the nationally recognized high-tech companies specializing in the development of photovoltaic cells and components.
Huayang Jolywood launched its first-phase project in July last year. According to Miao Yunzhan, deputy general manager of Huayang Jolywood, construction of the first phase is near completion and production will begin in the near future.
"Our second-phase project will also be completed in the second half of this year," Miao said. "Upon full operation, we will have an annual capacity to produce 10 billion yuan worth of 16-gigawatt, high-performance photovoltaic cells."
The executive added that the facility is expected to create more than 2,600 jobs for Shanxi residents.
Authorities in Shanxi province are now creating an administrative framework to help accelerate the construction of new projects and support their operations. Efforts include shortening the approval time for new projects and offering tailored, whole-process services to support business growth.
As a result of the wide-ranging efforts, industrial zones and parks in Shanxi secured 1,427 large and medium-sized investment projects from January 2021 to March this year.
Of these, 1,291 projects, or 90.5 percent of the total, are under construction or have become operational, according to the Shanxi Department of Commerce.
Guo Yanjie contributed to this story.