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Trade hub aims to reclaim ancient glory

By Liu Jianna | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-09 09:27

The original start of the fabled Silk Road is working hard to exploit opportunities from the Belt and Road Initiative

A China-Europe freight train carrying imported automobiles arrives at Xinzhu Station in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, in June last year. Tang Zhenjiang / For China Daily

Recently, the Yongping refinery of Yanchang Petroleum Group in Yan'an, Shaanxi province, made headlines by producing aviation fuel. As a result, Yanchang has become the first local enterprise to be granted an official certificate to produce the high-grade fuel commercially.

"The equipment that produces 200,000 (metric) tons of aviation fuel annually was actually remodeled from a spare production facility during a technical renovation project," Wei Tao, deputy director of the refinery's Third Joint Workshop, told Shaanxi Daily.

The innovative project is part of Yanchang's concerted and continuous efforts to substantially improve its competitiveness at a time when traditional energy businesses are facing lackluster development momentum and shrinking room for growth in the face of grinding competition from rivals in the new energy sector.

In the past nine years, Yanchang, China's fourth-largest oil company, has invested more than 47 billion yuan ($6.67 billion) in technological innovations, which has cemented its status as Shaanxi's largest State-owned enterprise and the biggest contributor to the province's finances through tax.

The company was ranked 263rd in the newly published 2019 Fortune Global 500, having made the list for seven consecutive years.

Yanchang's deep attention to innovation and industrial upgrading mirrors Shaanxi's growing emphasis on accelerating the transformation of the economic development mode and replacing old growth drivers with new ones.

Leveraging its excellent geographical advantages, advanced public transportation system and scientific and educational strengths, Shaanxi, a conventional industrial powerhouse in Northwest China that was once heavily dependent on energy, is now developing "the three economies"; namely, becoming an international hub and gateway economy with a high mobility of production factors including goods and talent.

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