Access to foreign markets is often tough for many companies in inland provinces. But Zhuzhou, an industrial hub in Hunan province, has sufficient strength to turn its goals into reality.
The city, famously known for its products such as electric multiple unit (EMU) trains, maglev trains and subways, has maintained a high speed in transforming itself from a rail transit equipment manufacturing base into an innovation hub with a number of industrial clusters, especially in the fields of new energy vehicles, civil aviation, new materials and biomedicine.
After exporting 10 electric buses with intelligent control systems to Seoul－capital of South Korea－in 2020, CRRC Electric Vehicle Co Ltd, a Zhuzhou-based manufacturing unit of electric and gas-powered hybrid vehicles of China Railway Rolling Stock Corp, the country's largest rolling stock manufacturer by production volume, will ship a total of 50 electric buses to Seoul this year.
With new orders placed by both global and domestic clients, Zhang Wei, CRRC Electric Vehicle vice-president, said the company currently has a busy work schedule manufacturing more than 700 electric buses in 2022, and this business segment has become one of the pillar export businesses for Zhuzhou in recent years.
The executive said that these vehicles are durable with low energy consumption and are equipped with a cloud-based purification system that can be remotely launched for disinfection.
The company shipped a batch of overseas-version premium pure electric buses, namely the ET12, to a client in Wellington, New Zealand, in March. This is the third repeat order for buses of this kind since the first delivery was made to Auckland in 2021.
Backed by well-developed industrial and supply chains, led by the rail transit equipment sector, Zhuzhou will be able to play a key role in supporting the coordinated growth of the Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan city cluster in Hunan province, said Zhao Ying, a researcher at the Beijing-based Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
An advanced manufacturing cluster is a complex network structure formed by a large number of geographically adjacent companies and institutions through mutual cooperation, he said, adding it is an advanced form of comprehensive industrial collaboration and a symbol of high-quality development of the manufacturing industry.
As the city proposed to build a world-class advanced rail transit equipment industrial cluster, with an annual output of more than 200 billion yuan ($29.7 billion) by 2025, CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co Ltd, a Zhuzhou-based train maker and another subsidiary of State-owned CRRC, announced in March that tests had been completed for its next generation of commercial maglev trains.
The train, with a designed speed of 200 kilometers per hour, has achieved multiple tech breakthroughs such as unmanned driving and non-contact power supply, said Zhang Wenyue, deputy head of CRRC Zhuzhou's maglev research institute.
Equipped with autonomous driving and 5G millimeter-wave communication, the train is operated by a ground control system. Real-time data are gathered for troubleshooting to ensure its safety, he said.
Apart from running a giant rail transit industrial base, and the small and medium-sized aviation engine manufacturing industry with a 30 percent annual growth rate, Zhuzhou saw its exports soar 23 percent on a yearly basis to 17.16 billion yuan in 2021, data from the city's commerce and grain management bureau showed.