The Rise of Hunan

2021-10-09 10:43:00 Source:China Today Author:staff reporter ZACHARY LUNDQUIST
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Hunan is a province with a long history, rich culture, wonderful natural scenery and fast developing economy. On top of that, Hunan is also a place with a glorious history of revolution under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In connection with its rich revolutionary past or “red history” (since the color red represents revolution in China), there are many revolutionary historical sites throughout the province, where revolutionaries like Mao Zedong and Liu Shaoqi fought to bring liberation and a brighter future for the Chinese people. 

Hunan’s abundant natural resources have given it the reputation of being a key agriculture province, having an abundance of rice and fish. It also has a well-established industrial foundation with competitive advantages in heavy equipment manufacturing, engineering, and agricultural product processing. 

A group of foreign and domestic reporters taking a group photo on a new hi-tech double decker subway carriage designed by CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive for a European country.

In mid-September 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping, while visiting Hunan, proposed the strategy of “Three Highlands and Four New Missions” for the province. The Three Highlands refer to shaping a national advanced manufacturing industry, nurturing innovative technology with a competitive edge, and expanding opening-up and reform; four missions include realizing integrated development, assuming new responsibilities in promoting the development of China’s central region and Yangzi River Economic Belt, striving to write a new chapter for Hunan to adhere to, and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

At the Hunan Three Highlands and Four New Missions Strategy and China (Hunan) Pilot Free Trade Zone Promotion Conference held in Shenzhen on July 28, 2021, Mao Weiming, deputy secretary of the CPC Hunan Provincial Committee and governor of Hunan Province, stated that Hunan is facing a rare major historical opportunity in its development. The implementation of the Three Highlands and Four New Missions Strategy has become a province-wide consensus and the move to promote high-quality development of the central region in the new era, helping inject strong impetus into Hunan’s efforts in building itself into an important growth pole in the country. 


Advanced Manufacturing with Cutting-edge Innovative Technology

It’s learned that to build an advanced manufacturing sector, Hunan will build a modern industrial system that incorporates dozens of advantageous emerging industries, including engineering machinery, rail transportation equipment, aerospace equipment, new materials, and new energy, among many others. They will upgrade traditional industries and cultivate future industries. Three representative enterprises in Hunan can present outsiders a glimpse of how this “high-tech plan” is emerging and carrying out.

Sany Heavy Industry has a reputation of being a world leader in heavy machinery manufacturing. In its manufacturing process, extensive digitalization has been realized. Within one of its plants, half of the building is occupied by unmanned computerized machinery, and robots transport material or other needed components to the designated area. The entire operation is a highly synchronized cooperation between humans and machines.

Sunward Intelligent Equipment was founded in 1999 by He Qinghua, a professor of Central South University. The company focuses on manufacturing innovative products from engineering equipment to aviation equipment. Today, it is one of China’s leading s underground engineering equipment manufacturing enterprises a global top 50 construction machinery manufacturer, and a global top three regional aircraft leasing enterprise. It has developed more than 200 specifications and models of high-end products in more than 10 fields, including mining equipment and aviation equipment that has been exported to about 100 countries and regions around the world. While some of their equipment still utilizes components from foreign companies, many are completely equipped with components designed and manufactured by the company itself. 

A line of subway carriages in the process of being assembled at the warehouse of CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive.

CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd. (CRRC ZELC), the leading enterprise in Hunan’s rail transportation industry was founded in 1936, and is a world leader in the field of rail transit equipment manufacturing.. It mainly focuses on manufacturing public transport vehicles with new technologies, such as electric locomotives, urban rail vehicles, maglev trains and energy storage trams. It presently has 21 subsidiaries within and outside China. In addition to just producing innovative and hi-tech means of transit for China, it also serves countries along the Belt and Road Initiative and has successively obtained almost 60 orders from 22 different countries. CRRC ZELC is a promoter of international exchanges and cooperation and has become a representative of China’s high-quality hi-tech equipment manufacturers to the rest of the world.                

Evidenced by these world renowned and respected Chinese manufactures in Hunan, with quality products and world advanced technology, China is advancing the country’s development and propelling the global economic growth.  

Expanding Dialogue between China and Other Countries

The Second China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo & China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum held in late September has attracted participation of some heads of state from Africa. Using the theme “New Start, New Opportunities, and New Achievements,” those foreign leaders, all shared their wish for better and more in-depth cooperation between China and African countries at different levels and in more fields. 

An exhibitor (R) introduces shea butter produced in Ghana during the second China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo in Changsha, capital of Central China's Hunan province, Sept 27, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

In a congratulatory letter addressed to the first CAETE, Chinese President Xi Jinping said it is hoped that  China and Africa will strengthen coordination to better implement the eight major initiatives put forward at the Beijing summit of the FOCAC, actively explore new paths for cooperation, open up new points of growth for collaboration, and promote China-Africa economic and trade cooperation to a new level.

In light of Xi's guidance, Hunan has taken the initiative to explore new ways for economic and trade cooperation with Africa. China (Hunan) Pilot Free Trade Zone was launched in September 2020, aiming to build a world-class advanced manufacturing cluster, an international investment and trade corridor linking the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and a leading area for in-depth economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa.

The Gaoqiao Grand Market, a major part of the China (Hunan) Pilot Free Trade Zone has become a leading area for in-depth economic and trade cooperation between Africa and China. The market not only provides a platform for companies from African countries to sell their wares at good prices in Hunan, but actively promotes the construction of the whole industrial chain of non-resource products in Africa. A market spokesperson told China Today that Hunan provides business consulting, innovative business ideas, packaging designs, and marketing platforms to specific products from African countries. The boost the market gives to exports and imports create win-win opportunities for both China and Africa, as well as the rest of the world. 

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