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Ningxia upgrades industries to build up high-quality development

By Hu Dongmei and Li Menghan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-21 07:21
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Photo shows a news conference being held by the State Council Information Office on May 20, 2024. [Photo provided to]

The development of new quality productive forces and the establishment of a modern industrial system have helped to build up the high-quality development of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, senior regional officials said on Monday in Beijing.

"Despite its relatively small economic scale, Ningxia has seen rapid growth in the quantity and quality of its economic development," said Zhang Yupu, governor of Ningxia, at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office.

The intelligent, green and integrated levels of local industries have experienced significant advancements, which has laid a solid foundation for the development of new quality productive forces, he added.

"In the first quarter of this year, the regional gross domestic product increased 5.8 percent, maintaining a top 10 ranking nationwide for eight consecutive quarters," Zhang said. "Notably, the region's growth rate of added value of large-scale industries surpassed all the other provincial-level regions, and that of the total output value of agriculture climbed to No 3 nationwide, both of which are record highs."

Chen Chunping, executive vice-governor of Ningxia, said: "The traditional sectors of coal, electricity and metallurgy hold a substantial share in Ningxia, accounting for more than 60 percent of the industrial added value. The region has facilitated the development of these traditional industries by implementing measures such as equipment upgrades, technological empowerment and transitioning to low-carbon practices."

Mai Yanzhou, vice-governor of the autonomous region, cited the local coal-to-liquids technique, which uses the indirect liquefaction method to produce oil. This approach, which won first prize in the national scientific and technological progress awards, has helped tackle the nation's persistent imbalance of more coal and less oil, and has broken foreign technology monopoly, he said.

Restructuring adds vigor

With the restructuring of traditional industries and the use of innovative technology, industrial clusters have taken shape that incorporate the coal-to-liquids process, coal-based olefins, which are building block materials for products such as plastics, and high-performance fibers.

"The scale of the modern coal and chemistry industry has exceeded 30 million metric tons, with the annual capacity of the coal-to-liquids project exceeding 4 million tons for three consecutive years, ranking first nationally, and that of coal-based olefins exceeding 4.7 million tons, accounting for one-fifth of the national production capacity," said Zhang, the Ningxia governor.

More than 20 types of high-end products produced in Ningxia, such as special fabric yarns and premium perfume ingredients, have entered the domestic and international markets, he added.

Ningxia, the only region in the nation situated entirely within the Yellow River Basin, boasts a thriving agricultural industry. Leveraging technological advancements, the region has pioneered the world's first-ever fully intelligent dairy facility, leading to decreased costs and increased efficiency. The facility can yield 1 million tons of liquid milk per year with a workforce of 100 employees, resulting in a remarkable output value of 10 billion yuan ($1.38 billion), Zhang said.

With a sound blend of coal, electricity, oil and natural gas as well as wind and solar resources, the average costs of land and electricity, water and gas consumption are 30 percent to 50 percent lower than those in East China, making Ningxia an appealing place for developing green energy and the data economy, said Mai, the vice-governor.

"The national inaugural comprehensive demonstration zone for new energy has supplied abundant green electricity resources to Ningxia," Mai said.

With a total installed capacity of 70 million kilowatts and annual electricity generation of 200 billion kilowatt-hours, Ningxia leads the country in both per capita installed capacity and per capita electricity generation, according to local authorities. Its installed capacity of new energy has surpassed 37 million kW, accounting for 51 percent of its total, and the utilization rate is 97 percent, making it the provincial-level region with the highest intensity of new energy development per unit of land area nationwide, according to the local government.

AI advancement

Under the national guidance of channeling more computing resources from the eastern areas to the less-developed western regions, Ningxia has stood out for hosting the National (Zhongwei) New Internet Exchange Center and serves as one of the nation's integrated computing hubs, Mai said.

He also said the region established a base last year for artificial intelligence chip adaptation to offer testing and verification services for domestic chips. Ningxia will continue to nurture a top-notch development and testing environment for artificial intelligence advancement and will broaden the technology's application scenarios, he added.

"In the next step, we plan to make every effort to build the computing capital of China and contribute to the construction of digital China," Mai said.

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