Open Governance
Lists of Sichuan's First Pilot Competitive Manufacturing Cities and Special Advantageous Industries Released

Recently, Chengdu, Deyang, Mianyang and Yibin were listed among the first pilot competitive manufacturing cities of Sichuan. Besides, the province's newly listed pilot special advantageous industries included the vanadium & titanium industry of Panzhihua, crystalline silicon PV industry of Leshan, lithium battery industry of Suining, and medical device industry of Ziyang. 

This was regarded as a new measure to build Sichuan into a province strong in manufacturing. It aims to motivate all localities and their urban forces and to pool resources from all sectors of society, so as to weight advantageous resource factors toward advantageous fields. In this way, Sichuan is able to explore new modes and paths for transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing sector in different regions, thus forming a leading force in the high-quality development of this sector in the province.

How were the lists formed? What were taken into consideration? What will the first pilot cities do? The reporter made related analyses to answer these questions. 

Sichuan strives for new supports for its manufacturing sector 

Why does Sichuan carry out pilot work to build a province strong in manufacturing? 

The industrial sector serves as the mainstay while the manufacturing sector undertakes major tasks. Sichuan is a major province of the industrial sector in western China. In 2021, the province's regional GDP in the industrial sector topped 1.5 trillion yuan, and total value-added industrial output reached 1,542.82 billion yuan, accounting for 4.1% of China's total and ranking 8th in the country. Sichuan's manufacturing sector is typically characterized by fast development, complete systems, a large scale, complete supporting facilities and great potential. 

The 14th Five-Year Plan period is critical for the province to make breakthroughs in the manufacturing sector. In the 14th Five-Year Plan of Sichuan Province for High-quality Development of the Manufacturing Sector rolled out at the end of 2021, Sichuan set itself the goal of "lifting its manufacturing sector into China's front rank" for the first time. 

What should Sichuan do to grow into a strong province from a large province in the industrial sector? "Besides the increase in the regional GDP, Sichuan should put effort into the exploration of new development modes and paths for the manufacturing sector," said the head of the Planning and Development Division of Sichuan Provincial Economic and Information Department. 

The province needs to find the key regions. Based on the experience of economically developed areas in China, it is not realistic to devote equal efforts to all regions' development. Jiangsu Province, which has the highest proportion of added value of the manufacturing sector in its regional GDP, has made it clear that it will put more effort into 16 advanced manufacturing clusters. Guangdong Province, with its regional GDP ranking 1st in China for 33 consecutive years, has prioritized the development of the Pearl River Delta's core area and the coastal economic belt. In 2021, the added value of 20 strategic industrial clusters of Guangdong accounted for nearly 40% of the province's regional GDP. 

New supports are needed to advance high-quality development of Sichuan's manufacturing sector. Both at the Economic Work Conference of the CPC Sichuan Provincial Committee convened at the end of 2021 and in the provincial government work report delivered in 2022, Sichuan made it clear that it would carry out pilot work in major cities with high regional GDP rankings and solid manufacturing foundation as well as in some special advantageous industries. 

In a word, the lists of pilot cities and industries were formed based on careful selection. "Core data such as the regional GDP and the added value of major industrial firms are the main basis for the decision making," introduced the head of the Planning and Development Division of Sichuan Provincial Economic and Information Department. In 2021, the regional GDP of Chengdu was nearly two trillion yuan while that of Mianyang and Yibin exceeded 300 billion yuan each. The added value of the secondary sector in each of the four pilot cities topped 100 billion yuan. Only cities with solid industrial foundation and large economic sizes can give full play to the "head wild goose effect" and lead other parts of the province to pursue better development. 

In terms of the four special advantageous industries, they are all distinctive with great development potential, and some of them recorded rapid growth in recent years. The head of the Planning and Development Division of Sichuan Provincial Economic and Information Department introduced that the four industries have the strength or potential to grow into leaders across the country. 

Take the lithium battery industry of Suining as an example, its revenue achieved a surge of 67.3% in 2021. Besides, the city's lithium battery projects have a total planned investment of more than 60 billion yuan and the output value is expected to top 100 billion yuan by 2025. "The industry has set a clear goal, and leading enterprises have their own strengths," commented Sheng Yi, deputy head of the Industrial Sector Group of the Decision-making Advisory Committee of the CPC Sichuan Provincial Committee and the People's Government of Sichuan Province. 

Pilot plans show their own features while meeting requirements 

How will the first batch of cities in the pilot programs break new ground? According to an official of Sichuan Provincial Economic and Information Department, the pilot plans of those cities (prefectures) show their own features while meeting the requirements. 

All the four pilot cities should satisfy the following six requirements: one park for high-quality development of the manufacturing sector, one pillar industry, one leading enterprise in the industry chain, one leading municipal official serving as the head of the industry chain, one innovation platform, as well as hosting one world brand conference. 

"The selected industry needs to have great potential for growth, broad market prospects and strong industrial driving force," said the head of the Planning and Development Division of Sichuan Provincial Economic and Information Department. 

For example, Chengdu has selected the new display industry as the flagship industry, has determined Chengdu BOE Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd. as the leading enterprise in the industry chain, relies on Chengdu Electronic Information Industry Functional Area as the core carrier park, facilitates BOE-UESTC Joint Innovation Institute to build a national innovation platform, and will hold the 2022 World Conference on Display Industry. 

The head of the Planning and Development Division of Sichuan Provincial Economic and Information Department specifically mentioned that the last aforementioned requirement aims to develop a flagship industry with a great influence in China and even in the world. Deyang and Yibin will host 2022 World Conference on Clean Energy Equipment and 2022 World EV & ES Battery Conference respectively. 

"In the pilot programs, the cities (prefectures) should be encouraged to focus on innovation, seek a path that better suits the development of the local manufacturing sector, and expand the industrial size." The head of the Planning and Development Division of Sichuan Provincial Economic and Information Department said that in addition, the pilot programs advocate the policy of "letting a hundred flowers bloom and making full use of their own strengths." 

In their bidding materials, the four pilot cities have taken the initiative to express the intention to work together. For example, Chengdu proposed to jointly build a new display manufacturing hub by relying on the projects in Chengdu, Chongqing, Mianyang and Meishan. Yibin suggested that support should be given to promoting the joint development of resources in an enclave park, and building a model in Yibin for the efforts to build an "electric Sichuan". Mianyang proposed to strengthen collaborative research on the industry chain of advanced materials across the province, explore the establishment of an industrial alliance and other organizations, and enhance technical cooperation for common industrial problems. 

In the bidding materials of the first four pilot special advantageous industries, the frequent keywords included leading enterprises in the industry chain, single champion enterprises, the development in the whole industry chain, R&D innovation, and building a platform. According to local development goals, the size of the four industries will be increased significantly by the end of the five-year pilot. For example, the crystalline silicon PV industry of Leshan will register an annual output value of more than 150 billion yuan, and the revenue of the lithium battery industry of Suining will exceed 120 billion yuan. 

According to relevant experts, a province strong in manufacturing should boast a large size, an independent, controllable, and risk-resilient industry chain that can endure any possible impact. The pilot programs encourage those cities to select core technologies in key fields according to such factors as the priority, product importance and the level of external risks, strive to achieve breakthroughs that approach or reach the international advanced level as soon as possible, and enhance the safety and resilience of the industry chain and supply chain. We must make such efforts before building Sichuan into a province strong in manufacturing from a major manufacturer. 

According to the head of the Planning and Development Division of Sichuan Provincial Economic and Information Department, those cities are expected to boldly explore a model of coordinated development of manufacturing with technology, finance, and human resources, establish a mechanism that facilitates breakthroughs of core technologies in key fields and their integrated application, remove any barriers that block smooth progress from basic research, technology development, to engineering application, and industrialization, and blaze a path of whole-chain collaborative innovation with its own characteristics.

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