Industries help locals rise up from poverty
Located at the heart of the Taihang Mountains, Pingshun used to be one of the least-developed counties in Shanxi province. It had a large number of impoverished areas and an equally large population of poor residents.
But thanks to the booming growth of local industries, the county in Shanxi's Changzhi city has changed for the better.
One such sector helping to alleviate poverty is the emerging medical herb processing industry.
According to the county government, Pingshun has rich resources in medical herbs with more than 300 varieties, including 67 varieties with great potential for industrial development.
Changzhi-based Zhendong Group is one of the enterprises helping Pingshun turn its rich herb resources into wealth by establishing a large-scale business for the growing, processing and sale of medical herbs.
When recalling his first tours of Pingshun several years ago, Li Anping, chairman of Zhendong, said: "We were impressed with the variety and quality of medical herbs in Pingshun."
But the entrepreneur added he was also shocked by the poverty in some mountainous areas. "It took about three hours to travel on an 80-kilometer road to the villages we planned to visit. The village of Qinguang, for instance, was only inhabited by seniors and children. Most people of working age had left to find opportunities for improving their livelihoods."
Li said he then thought it is a pressing task for Zhendong to help locals rise out of poverty.
The company has established a medical herb industrial park in Pingshun. It has signed cooperative agreements with nearly 6,500 impoverished families, helping them grow herbs and purchasing produce from them.
According to Li, the company's move has offered a stable source of revenue for more than 25,000 residents.
With the help of enterprises like Zhendong, the medical herb industry has developed into a rural economic pillar in Pingshun.
In 2019, the county's output value for the industry reached 338 million yuan ($52.32 million), growing 42.25 percent from 2018.
Like Pingshun, the city of Changzhi as a whole is reaping the benefits of industrial development in improving people's livelihoods.
Playing a crucial role in Changzhi's economic development and employment creation are the high-tech and advanced manufacturing industries, including new energy vehicles, semiconductors, electronics, fine chemicals, biomedicines and high-end equipment production.
Lixun Precise Industry is one of the model enterprises for job creation in Changzhi.
The company has established an industrial park in Changzhi, supplying automotive electronics to renowned carmakers including Geely and Great Wall.
"With the expansion in capacity, our industrial park is expected to achieve an output value of 500 million yuan and create more than 5,000 jobs this year," said Huang Jinpeng, a Lixun executive.
Li Shu contributed to this story.