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Anhui powers ahead in tech development

By ZHU LIXIN in Hefei CHINA DAILY Updated: 2022-07-21
A worker assembles a truck on Friday at a workshop of Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Co in Fuyang, Anhui province. [Photo by LU QIJIAN/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Province's efforts to boost innovation, emerging industries prove fruitful

Anhui province is on a fast track of development in China's economy, having become a hub of multiple emerging industries, such as electric vehicles, over the last decade, provincial leaders said.

"Anhui's combined annual gross domestic product over the past 10 years has exceeded that from 1949 to 2011," Zheng Shanjie, secretary of the Communist Party of China Anhui Provincial Committee, said at a news conference on Wednesday in Hefei, the provincial capital.

The province's GDP last year reached nearly 4.3 trillion yuan ($636.8 billion), ranking 11th among the 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland.

Over the decade, Anhui has reversed stereotypes that it is an agricultural region or an inland hinterland, said Zheng.

The province has been striving to build itself into an influential cradle of science and technology innovation, a hub of emerging industries, a place of reform and opening-up, and a demonstration area for ecologically friendly development, he said, adding that those efforts have proved fruitful.

By last year, the number of high-tech enterprises in Anhui had increased to more than 11,000 from 1,742 in 2012.

About eight enterprises from Anhui are added to the list of national high-tech companies on average every day, Zheng said.

The average ownership of invention patents in the province, which had more than 61 million residents by the end of 2021, has reached 19.9 patents per 10,000 people, compared with 1.3 per 10,000 people in 2012, according to the provincial authorities.

Anhui got the approval of the central authorities in 2017 to build the Hefei Comprehensive National Science Center, one of four such centers in the country.

It now has 12 megascience facilities in operation or under construction, one of the highest levels among all provincial-level regions in the nation, said Zheng.

China aims to lead the world's research and development in fusion science, and major facilities for the China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor are located in Hefei.

The province's 10 strategic emerging industries-such as electronic information, automobile, high-end equipment manufacturing and new materials-have contributed greatly to its rapid development.

"Last year, the output value of the strategic emerging industries accounted for 41 percent of Anhui's overall GDP, compared with 18.1 percent in 2012," said Wang Qingxian, governor of Anhui.

BYD, a leading automaker in China, opened a new energy vehicle plant in Hefei in late June, with an investment of 15 billion yuan.

"It took just 42 days from contracting to the start of construction and only about 10 more months for the first vehicle to roll off the production lines," Zheng said.

As China is now a major vehicle exporter in the world, "one out of every five automobiles exported by China last year was manufactured in Anhui", he said.

The province is now home to such major manufacturers of new energy vehicles as BYD, Volkswagen, Nio and Geely.

"Anhui's NEV industry production capacity will hopefully expand sixfold from now to 1.5 million vehicles by 2025," said Wang, the governor.