Yangquan city transforms into sustainable economy
Yangquan has developed into a suitable place for living and setting up business as a result of the transformation over the past decade. [Photo by Zhang Zheyuan for China Daily]
The city of Yangquan in east Shanxi province, which used to be a renowned coal-mining base in China, is successfully transforming itself into a sustainable economy.
The city began its transformation about 10 years ago and its economic structure now has been upgraded to cover such industries as new materials, new generation of information technology, new energy, modern services and modern agriculture.
The digital technologies have played a crucial role in the transformation, bringing fundamental changes to industrial development, urban management and lifestyles.
For city residents, their direct impression of Yangquan's transformation is that the city has become smarter.
The city was among the earliest to embrace autonomous driving practices in Shanxi.
The residents are now very familiar with a car-hiring app called Luobo Kuaipao, which literally means "fast-running turnip". With a click of the app on the smartphone and entry of the pickup location and destination, the commuter is highly likely to be served by an autonomous-driving car which could take him or her to any destination safely.
Yangquan is one of the first pioneering intelligent cities in Shanxi, with many aspects of urban management, including traffic, administrative service, healthcare and community governance improved by digital technologies.
The city also sees digital technologies as an effective way to upgrade its industries.
Xinyuan Coal Mine, a subsidiary of Yangquan-based Huayang Group, for instance, has channeled heavy investments into its intelligent facilities for coal mining.
The coal mine's production sites are now connected to 5G networks.
"The connection allows us to monitor and control mining processes in shafts as deep as 500 meters below the ground, helping increase efficiency and improve safety substantially," said Cui Maosheng, a technician at Xinyuan. "In the past, all monitoring was carried out by workers, who needed to walk 5-8 kilometers a day in the shafts. Now, all monitoring can be done with 5G-connected robots."
Yangquan is also using digital technologies to modernize its agricultural industry. Tianlong Ecological Farming, for instance, has developed a 5G-connected smart operational system for its animal farms.
"Among many of our operations, we have two smart chicken farms," an executive of the company said. "The 200,000-plus chickens in the farms are now taken care of by only two workers thanks to the higher level of automation and digitalization."
Yangquan has implemented 32 agricultural modernization projects with a combined investment of 2.73 billion yuan ($387.54 million) in its rural areas since the beginning of the year, an official at the city's bureau of agriculture and rural affairs said. He added that many of the projects are related to smart and environmentally friendly farming.
Bai Xuefeng and Su Xiaochen contributed to this story.