Emerging industries fostered as new driving force for sustainability

By Yuan Shenggao (China Daily)

Updated: 2022-08-19


The first Shanxi-Paris China-Europe freight train operated by Huayuan International Land Port Group is ready for departure on June 2, 2021. [Photo by Ren Huajie for China Daily]

While upgrading and diversifying its energy industry, the North China province of Shanxi is fostering emerging industries as its new growth engines.

These include advanced manufacturing, new energy vehicles, new materials, high technology, modern services and the digital economy.

One example of local manufacturers gearing up to an advanced level of operation is Taiyuan Iron and Steel, one of the largest State-owned enterprises in Shanxi province.

The company's latest cutting-edge product is a superthin broadsheet stainless steel foil with a thickness of less than 0.02 millimeters, equal to one-third the diameter of human hair.

The company's executives said Taiyuan Iron and Steel is among very few manufacturers in the world that can produce steel foil with such specifications.

With high strength and flexibility properties, the product can take the place of aluminum foil in industries like aerospace, electronics, petrochemicals and automobiles. It also performs better in erosion, moisture and heat resistance than aluminum products.

Since Taiyuan Iron and Steel launched the product in 2018, it has broken the monopoly of foreign suppliers and brought tangible benefits to domestic users through lower prices.

In addition to the superthin steel foil, the company has developed a range of high-end, advanced products. These include 18 products belonging to the category of "national firsts"; 26 products ranking first in domestic market share and 40 products that substitute for traditional imports.

With advanced products accounting for more than 85 percent of its portfolio, Taiyuan Iron and Steel reported a business revenue of 141.4 billion yuan ($20.84 billion) and total profit of 15.2 billion yuan in 2021. Both figures have set records.

In the new energy vehicle sector, domestic automaker Geely's new-energy unit in the Shanxi city of Jinzhong announced the launch of its methanol-powered heavy-duty trucks to the market on June 22.

This marked the latest move in Jinzhong city's ambitious plan to develop one of the largest methanol vehicle chains in China, from the production of methanol fuel, vehicles, auto parts and methanol-filling facilities.

Geely established the Shanxi New Energy Automobiles Corp in Jinzhong in 2011 and began producing methanol vehicles in 2017.

In the upper stream of the industrial chain, Jinzhong is home to large methanol producers such as Changsheng Coal Gasification, which extracts methanol from coking gas. There are also 60 component producers that supply Geely and other automakers.

Jinzhong officials predict the entire methanol vehicle chain will generate 20 billion yuan in annual output value by 2025.

The industries are set to grow into a 100-billion-yuan cluster in the longer term.

With the application of the internet and other information technologies, Shanxi's service industries are on track to achieve rapid and healthy development. Local statistics show the added value in Shanxi's service industries surpassed 1 billion yuan in 2021 for the first time.

Modern logistics is a service sector in Shanxi which has seen the most impressive development.

As an example, Taiyuan-based Huayuan Land Port Group has developed into a multifunctional logistics company with operations both at home and abroad that use various internet and e-commerce platforms.

Han Linfang contributed to this story.