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Yinchuan cementing role as silicon hub

By HU DONGMEI and CHEN MEILING in Yinchuan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-18 07:21
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Workers produce monocrystalline silicon rods at a workshop of the Ningxia Zhonghuan Solar Materials Co in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui autonomous region. CHINA DAILY

Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia Hui autonomous region, is developing into a base for the nation's silicon materials and aims to boost China's electronic information industry.

Silicon is the most widely used semiconductor material, and its production and usage are indicative of the level a country's electronics industry is at.

Semiconductors are used in integrated circuits, consumer electronics, communication systems, photovoltaic power generation, lighting, high-level power conversion and other fields.

Most electronics products including computers, mobile phones and digital recorders, have semiconductors at their core. Semiconductors are also fundamental components for the development of emerging industries such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, the internet of things and virtual reality.

Many top companies in the semiconductor sector have settled in Yinchuan, including Ningxia Zhonghuan Solar Materials Co, which has one of the world's largest monocrystalline silicon smart factories. The company manufactures monocrystalline silicon rods, which can generate 70 gigawatts of solar power annually when the plant is running at its full production capacity.

Sixty percent of Ningxia Zhonghuan Solar Materials' operations are unmanned and 40 percent are controlled by a centralized intelligent operating mode. The entire production process, from the arrival of raw materials to the delivery of finished products, is automated.

Ningxia Dunyuanjuxin Semiconductor Technology Corp has an annual production capacity of 100,000 quartz crucibles, which are used in the manufacturing of semiconductors.

The company also produces 3,600 metric tons of quartz sand, and 40,000 silicon components, with an annual output value of up to 1 billion yuan.

The fully automatic soldering machine developed by Ningxia XN Automation Equipment Co Ltd has broken dependence on imported photovoltaic string soldering machines and has been recognized as the national manufacturing industry champion in its category.

In 2023, the photovoltaic industry of Yinchuan achieved a total industrial output value of 48.36 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 2.6 percent, data from local authorities showed.

In addition to photovoltaic industry, Yinchuan is also considered the ideal hub for emerging industries such as silicon wafers, graphene and industrial sapphire, said Zhao Xuhui, Party secretary of Yinchuan.

"Leveraging the advantages of Ningxia's climate, electricity and policies, Yinchuan is vigorously developing new material industries with a focus on photovoltaic materials, sapphire materials, new semiconductor materials and battery materials," he said.

"Yinchuan will further focus on the development of advanced and efficient monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic products and technologies. The goal is to build 'China's New Silicon Valley' and to support the autonomous region in constructing a 'mega factory' and a 'mega base' for new materials," he said.

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