Letter from China: New quality productive forces mark Chinese path to future-Xinhua

Letter from China: New quality productive forces mark Chinese path to future

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-04 15:42:00

By Sergio Gomez

HEFEI, April 4 (Xinhua) -- With a gesture on the mobile phone app, the Chinese-made smart new energy vehicle automatically parks; I ask the virtual assistant to "play a Cuban song" and a Caribbean rhythm plays instantly.

Driving long distances is easier than ever thanks to the advanced driver assistance system and, if the battery runs out, it takes just three minutes to change it for another at an automated battery-swap station.

It is my first experience with a Chinese new energy vehicle, and I am struck by how they have integrated intelligent driving throughout the process.

Many buyers, especially the younger generation, are increasingly paying attention to the built-in technologies and entertainment options available in cars. Hence, the Chinese new energy vehicle industry seeks to stay at the technological forefront and is in constant innovation.

This has turned the sector into one of the main references of the new quality productive forces, a concept that I heard repeatedly during China's annual "two sessions" this year, the annual sessions of China's top legislature and top political advisory body.

My search for the latest Chinese new energy vehicles recently took me to Anhui Province in eastern China, simultaneously leading me to the profound meaning of new quality productive forces and how their momentum is changing the lives of people in the country and beyond.

Anhui is located in the Yangtze River Delta, which has abundant scientific and educational resources. The province is a gathering place for emerging industries and high-level innovation.

Seven auto enterprises are based in Anhui and the province has placed the automotive sector at the forefront of its industrial development, with an emphasis on the new energy sector.

I had the privilege of entering the production workshop of NIO, a new energy vehicle company based in Hefei, capital of Anhui. At its advanced manufacturing center, I witnessed the complete manufacturing process of a new energy vehicle through intelligent production. I had seen traditional car assembly lines before, but this experience was very different.

In the automotive body shop, where the car body is produced, the manual welding method has disappeared. The plant has an area of more than 80,000 square meters and more than 800 robotic arms work at the same time to install and form one vehicle after another, which requires less than 200 workers and brings the automation rate to 98 percent.

I was particularly struck by the intelligent, high-precision mounting for the doors. Automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) transport a row of doors along a set line to a designated location, where a robot operates to assemble them. After automatic scanning and positioning, the robotic arms install them in an automated manner. Assembling four doors takes only 98 seconds.

In the final assembly workshop, which requires more labor, the way industrial workers work is also changing, as I observed. An employee named Lu Feng told me that frontline workers no longer have to do high-intensity physical labor like manual screwing, as smart manufacturing helps them better adapt to the complexities of assembly.

With a high-precision gun, a screw can be installed in a few seconds according to the set parameters. Data is displayed on the screen in real time and uploaded to the system. "Information and data from the entire production floor are calculated and processed, and it is impossible to make a mistake on a single part," Lu told me.

While first-hand experience with new energy vehicles in Anhui had a great impact on my understanding of new quality productive forces, it was not the only example I encountered during my visit to the province.

As a foreigner living in China, two of my great aspirations are to learn the language and understand the local culture better and better. A visit to iFLYTEK, an artificial intelligence (AI) company in Hefei, gave me high hopes for a world without language barriers.

When speaking in Spanish, the AI translator interpreted my words into seven languages in real time. By moving a "translator pen" over a menu with Chinese characters, I discovered that the first dish was "shredded pork with fish flavor." With equipment like this, I would never have to worry about ordering the wrong food at a Chinese restaurant again.

These are small scenarios of the application of AI in life. In fact, many fields such as education, healthcare, and smart vehicles are deeply integrated with this innovative technology.

Not only is AI deeply integrated with everyday life, it is also powering basic scientific research. At the University of Science and Technology of China, located in Hefei, I saw what could be the laboratory of the future. A robot combines chemistry, AI, big data and other disciplines to perform repetitive chemical experiments, mass literature reading and experimental design, allowing scientists more time and energy to explore humanity's great unknowns.

In addition to cultivating and expanding emerging industries, China is also building future industries. In Hefei, an "artificial sun" made me understand how far China's cutting-edge scientific and technological innovation can go.

It is the world's first experimental advanced superconducting tokamak, which was independently designed and built by China. Its goal is to simulate the principle of energy produced by the Sun, build a controllable and continuous nuclear fusion device on Earth, and obtain clean and inexhaustible fusion energy.

The results of the research and experiments being carried out there have set several world records, bringing humanity one step closer to "energy freedom."

New quality productive forces are driving China on the path to high-quality development. China is now not only a manufacturing hub but also an innovation powerhouse.

Cutting-edge scientific and technological research is being carried out in the country, a large number of talents are growing rapidly, and high-tech achievements are constantly generated, which become new industries and foster a new production drive. This process not only benefits China, but also positively impacts and offers more opportunities to all the people of the world.

My country, Cuba, and many other nations in Latin America and the Caribbean, are also working to achieve their development goals. Looking at China and its experiences in promoting new quality productive forces is a reference and also a source of inspiration to continue moving forward on the path to the future.