Sugar maker sweetens revenue with upgrades

By Hao nan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-03-11 08:13:32

Lin Shuixi's sugar production company has maintained profitable operations over the past four years at a time when most sugar producers across China have suffered serious losses.

"Chinese sugar manufacturers have been experiencing a tough period due to rising production costs and falling prices in the domestic sugar industry," said Lin, founder and president of Jinling Sugar Industry Group in Zhanjiang, South China's Guangdong province.

Last year, the group, one of the leading sugar makers in the country, sold about 600,000 metric tons of sugar, most of which were deep-processed products, and generated revenue of about 3 billion yuan ($460 million), roughly the same as in 2014.

Lin said much of the success could be attributed to the company's business strategy, which differs from that of most sugar companies in Zhanjiang.

"We attach greater priority to increasing product quality and nurturing our corporate brand, rather than expanding the scale of business," he said.

In 1989, Jinling Sugar started to develop high-quality sugar products in a bid to maintain the company's competitiveness. It invested an annual average of nearly 100 million yuan to upgrade its facilities until 2012, when it completed a technological revamp.

From 2013 to 2015, the company annually spent 20 million yuan in equipment maintenance and environmental protection.

The company's most-advanced devices, imported from Germany, are used to produce high-quality soft white sugar.

"High-quality sugar products can be used in a wider range of functions, such as medical treatment and textiles," Lin said.

As a deputy of the National People's Congress, Lin has attended the annual NPC session in Beijing four times, including this year's event.

"Innovation-driven development, agricultural modernization and supply-side reforms are the topics that I am mostly concerned with this year," he said.

Sugar maker sweetens revenue with upgrades

Lin came up with four proposals for the panel discussions of the NPC session, one of which was to advance construction of communication infrastructure in rural areas to support the nation's Internet Plus strategy and agricultural development.

"Developing modern agriculture with the support of science and Internet technologies can effectively help weed out overcapacity, which is a major tenet of China's supply-side structural reform," he said.

"The modernization of traditional agriculture will play an important role in driving Zhanjiang's development in the years ahead."

For the Zhanjiang city government, trade and economic exchanges with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations continues to be a top priority during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), said Wang Zhongbing, the city's mayor.

Jinling Sugar and Thailand's Trade Development Commission of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises launched a project in 2013 to facilitate trade in agricultural products between China and the ASEAN members, as well as the exchange between China's southern and northern areas.

The project has received support from Guangdong provincial government and the Ministry of Commerce.

The Beibu Gulf Agriculture Products Trading Center is located in Suixi county in Zhanjiang. Construction of the center, which will cost 1.6 billion yuan, is divided into three phases and will be finished in October 2018. When finished, the annual throughput of the trading center is expected to reach 3 million tons of agricultural products.

To date, 500 million yuan has been invested in the project. Construction of the first phase was completed in early February last year, and the latest-built cold chain logistics infrastructure also went into operation.

"We are now building an exhibition zone of agricultural products from the ASEAN member countries, which will cover an area of 50,000 square meters," Lin said.

To realize sustainable development, Jinling Sugar plans to plant sugarcane and other raw materials in ASEAN member countries by renting their land in the coming years.

 Sugar maker sweetens revenue with upgrades

Lin Shuixi (center), founder and president of Jinling Sugar Industry Group, inspects the quality of products at the company's production facility.

(China Daily 03/11/2016 page12)

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