Economic Watch: China localities turn to new productive forces for growth momentum-Xinhua

Economic Watch: China localities turn to new productive forces for growth momentum

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-02-28 20:39:30

HEFEI, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Two days after the Spring Festival, a busy scene played out amid the roaring machines at the construction site of Anhui Orinko New Energy Technology Co., Ltd.'s factory in the city of Wuhu, east China's Anhui Province.

Covering an area of 347 mu (about 23.1 hectares), this new materials project is designed to produce 1.7 billion square meters of lithium-battery separators annually.

"To speed up the project, we resumed construction even before the holiday ended," said Wu Jiang, general manager of Anhui Orinko. "The project will provide reliable raw materials for the booming downstream new energy vehicle (NEV) and energy storage industries."

Since the beginning of the year, regions across China have ramped up efforts to develop strategic emerging industries and future industries amid efforts to foster new productive forces and seek new growth momentum.

Anhui Province has launched its first group of major projects for the year, with 55 percent of the total investment of 489.6 billion yuan (about 68.9 billion U.S. dollars) going to 10 emerging industries.

South China's Guangdong Province has announced plans to invest some 150 billion yuan this year in new-generation information technology, biology, high-end equipment manufacturing and new materials industries.

This year, Beijing plans to launch 100 sci-tech innovation and modern industrial projects, including NEV industry clusters and the health and medicine industry.

Developing new productive forces is high on the agenda of many local governments across the country as they seek to bolster economic growth despite uncertainties with new growth drivers. Over 10 provincial-level regions pledged to develop new productive forces in the annual government work report earlier this year.

"Anhui's new productive forces have been growing rapidly on new tracks," said Wang Qingxian, governor of Anhui.

Last year, Anhui's NEV output reached 868,000 units, up 60.5 percent year on year, while its photovoltaic industry generated over 290 billion yuan in revenue. The high-tech industry there contributed 70.3 percent to the output growth of major enterprises.

East China's Jiangsu Province has announced that it will advance emerging industries, including bio-manufacturing, new energy and the low-altitude economy. Guangdong plans to support five future industries, including 6G, quantum technology, life sciences and humanoid robots.

Industry insiders believe that the key to developing new productive forces is sci-tech progress, which is backed by several factors, including talent, capital and innovation.

In 2023, China's investment in high-tech industries increased by 10.3 percent year on year, 7.3 percentage points faster than the total fixed-asset investment.

"New productive forces are marked by new technologies and new applications, which cannot be separated from the leadership of sci-tech innovation," said Lyu Bo, deputy director of the science and technology bureau of Hefei, capital of Anhui Province.

As an inland city now known for its sci-tech innovation and dynamic tech-intensive industries, Hefei has continuously ramped up its financial support for the commercialization of research findings, corporate R&D and the construction of innovation platforms.

In the city of Changzhou, Jiangsu Province, the total R&D spending will exceed 3.7 percent of its gross domestic product in 2025. "We need to focus on sci-tech innovation while seeking vast opportunities from new growth drivers," said Chen Jinhu, Party chief of Changzhou.

Many foreign enterprises are also digging into opportunities brought by the country's pursuit of new productive forces.

With an investment of over 30 billion yuan, Volkswagen has built a new NEV hub in Hefei. It has also worked with Chinese peers such as XPeng, Horizon Robotics and Gotion High-tech in the fields of electrification, autonomous driving and batteries.

"Hefei is a talent magnet, cultivating a pool of outstanding individuals in the field of science and technology. It's this dynamic ecosystem that enables us to thrive and innovate," said Erwin Gabardi, CEO of Volkswagen Anhui, adding that the company will benefit from this innovative strength and participate deeply in the high-quality development of Anhui's NEV industry.