In late February, a freighter loaded with more than 200 construction machines developed by Sunward Intelligent Equipment embarked on a journey to Eastern Europe.
For the company headquartered in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, that was its second shipment of intelligent goods to the international market that month. Total sales of the two shipments surpassed 200 million yuan ($28.96 million).
"Although it's not peak season, many of our products such as excavators, sliding loaders and high-altitude operation trucks are in short supply in overseas markets," said a spokesperson of Sunward's international market development center.
This is a result of constant efforts made in recent years to accelerate the transformation and upgrading of Hunan's manufacturing sector and expanding its industrial cluster.
In 2022, the added value of the manufacturing industry in Hunan accounted for 28.2 percent of its GDP, playing a vital role in stabilizing the local economy, local officials said.
It enjoys a good reputation in the global market, as the province has developed some core technologies of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System, and participated in the development of a train that can reach speeds of up to 605 kilometers per hour.
Hunan is also home to one of the world's largest shield tunneling machines by diameter, and pump trucks with the longest boom system globally.
It now boasts one State-level manufacturing innovation center and 11 provincial-level ones, which have helped China fill the gaps in more than 200 industrial technologies.
The province has also founded complete industrial chains in such sectors as construction machinery, rail transit equipment, new-generation autonomous and secure computing systems, and small and medium-sized aviation engines.
Its cluster of rail transit equipment, for example, has more than 300 local suppliers of parts in Zhuzhou, including three leaders across different business segments.
Nicknamed "the capital of construction machinery", Hunan has two companies ranked among the world's top five in the sector and five companies ranked among the top 50.
In October, the World Economic Forum announced the addition of 11 new factories and industrial sites to its Global Lighthouse Network, a platform for best practices of advanced manufacturing and representing the highest level of intelligent manufacturing and digitalization.
The No 18 Factory of Sany Heavy Industry, a Chinese machinery giant, in Changsha made the list as the second lighthouse factory in the global heavy industry.
In the factory, Sany has used flexible automated production, artificial intelligence and internet of things solutions to establish a digital and flexible manufacturing system of heavy equipment. For instance, the cutting and sorting of steel plates are finished by AI robots with a 3D high-definition vision system, of which the accuracy can be increased to 1 millimeter.
Moreover, two industrial clusters — new-generation autonomous and secure computing systems in Changsha, and small and medium-sized aviation engines in Zhuzhou — both ranked second among nationally advanced manufacturing clusters, according to a list released in November by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Hunan also took the lead nationally to make local laws on advanced manufacturing and rolled out a series of preferential policies and action plans to build itself into a nationally advanced manufacturing hub.
Currently, the province has a national advanced rail transit equipment innovation center. It is also home to 17 State-level key laboratories; nine national engineering labs; four national engineering research centers; 13 national engineering technology research centers; three national industrial technology public service platforms; 32 national technology innovation demonstration enterprises and 59 national corporate technology centers, all related to the manufacturing sector.
To better promote industrial development, Hunan has constantly implemented action plans to attract high-quality talents from overseas and nurture more local talents.
In the past two years, the province has introduced 38 international high-end talents and one innovation team, developed 178 young talents locally and supported 27 sci-tech innovation teams in local companies. Also, Changsha has become one of the top 10 cities nationwide for college students to find jobs after graduation.
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