Xinhua Headlines: China's manufacturing firms breaking out of trade woes

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Notable results have been secured so far. For instance, at the first China-Central and Eastern European Countries Expo which opened in Ningbo on June 8, 16 foreign-invested projects worth 33.59 billion yuan (about 4.77 billion U.S. dollars) were clinched involving smart manufacturing, new energy, new material and other sectors.

KERNEL OF MANUFACTURING

Optical reflective film is essential for flat panel display, but its production technology has long been monopolized by foreign countries. The game-changer did not appear until nine years ago when Solartron Technology was established in Ningbo with a goal to break the foreign monopoly.

Zhang Jingzhang, chairman of the board of Haitian International, the world's leading manufacturer of injection molding machines, routinely studied the economic situation and offered regular training to his employees.

Over 1,100 years ago, Ningbo was in the forefront of the ancient maritime Silk Road. Now it has reinvented itself into a gateway of China's foreign trade thanks to its rising manufacturing strength.

With 120,000 private firms, including more than 20,000 export and import firms, Ningbo has trade ties with over 220 countries and regions and posts the world's highest annual sales in more than 1100 kinds of products.

NINGBO, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Ningbo, a coastal city in eastern China, has come under the spotlight for hosting a cluster of manufacturing firms that can skillfully navigate the ongoing trade woes.

If the ongoing trade war has taught China anything, it is the significance of technical prowess.

Currently, nearly 100 percent of them see their primary products holding the biggest market share across the world and nearly 93 percent of them ranked the highest on the domestic stage.

Regarding manufacturing as "the advantages and foundation for development" of an economy, a city official said no matter how the external situations change, it is necessary for the city to maintain strategic focus and handle its own affairs well.

In Ningbo, innovation has long been viewed as "the soul of manufacturing."

But this challenge is "nothing stormy at all" for the 83-year-old. "We have run our business for 100 years and overcome many trials and tribulations," he said.

Known as "champion enterprises" for having won the first prizes in national manufacturing technology contests run by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the 28 manufacturing firms stand out for having retained either strong pricing power or steady market share despite the worsening global trade environment harmed by the tariff hikes of the United States.

An exhibitor introduces an airplane made in the Czech Republic on the first China-Central and Eastern European Countries Expo in Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province, June 8, 2019. (Xinhua/Weng Xinyang)

In 2018 alone, local companies saw their tax burden eased by a total of 86.23 billion yuan. The savings in taxes and fees can be plowed back into R&D and technical upgrading.

"Many people thought we were kidding. How could a startup dare to compete with foreign heavyweights? But our objective is to break down the barriers of technological monopoly," said Chairman Jin Yadong.

The company now is an industrial leader and has solid collaboration with established firms such as BOE Technology Group and Foxconn.

How long does it take to knit a garment? With the signature product of Cixing, a computerized flat knitting machine, the answer is 45 minutes.

For many years, local business circles have taken an alternative approach to their operation: manufacturers compete not for higher output and production value but having more research and development personnel and spending more of their sales revenue on R&D expenses.

Likewise, without its enduring commitment to innovation, Ningbo Cixing could never have evolved into a major global supplier of intelligent knitting machinery with the highest annual output and sales across the world.