China's high-tech group Huawei has become the world leader in 5G technology, powering a new era of smart manufacturing linked to AI. Photo: AFP

China’s national high-tech zones have maintained growth despite the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, says Xu Nanping, Vice-Minister of Science and Technology.

In May, the revenue of high-tech zones reached 3.27 trillion yuan (US$467 billion), up by 10.3% year-on-year, and the export volume reached 319 billion yuan, up by 13.7% year-on-year, Xu said on Thursday.

In the first quarter of this year, the high-tech zones employed more than 26.56 million people, up by 2.1% year-on-year. A total of 508,000 new jobs were created in high-tech zones during that period, up by 6.7%.

In 2019, China’s 169 national high-tech zones created 12.2 trillion yuan in output and paid 1.9 trillion yuan in taxes and fees, accounting for 12.3% of GDP and 11.8% of the country’s tax revenue.

Research and development expenditure of enterprises in the high-tech zones totaled 825.9 billion yuan, accounting for half the R&D expenditure of enterprises in the country in 2019. The number of patents authorised in national high-tech zones accounted for 37.5% of the country’s total.

By the end of 2019, national high-tech zones housed 81,000 high-tech enterprises, accounting for 35.9% of the country’s total.

State-owned enterprises

Profits and revenue of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) rose 6% and 7.1% respectively in June from a year ago, according to the Ministry of Finance.

In the first half of this year, profits of SOEs fell by 38.8% year-on-year to 1.12 trillion yuan. The decline was 13.9 percentage points less than that in the first five months.

Revenues dropped by 4.9% in the first half from the same period of last year, compared with a 7.7% decrease posted between January and May.

New-energy vehicle

China will step up efforts to advance the construction of battery swap infrastructure in the latest move to promote quality growth of the new-energy vehicle (NEV) sector, said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

The battery swap mode will be piloted in regions including Beijing and Hainan, said Xin Guobin, Vice Minister of MIIT.

Leading the world in NEV output and sales in the past five years, China has built 38,000 battery charging stations, 449 battery swap stations and 1.3 million charging poles, according to the MIIT. Despite its rapid expansion, the sector lacks strong core technologies and charging convenience, Xin said.

Coal production

Shanxi Province, a major coal producer in China, is expected to close 32 mines and cut more than 20 million tonnes of overcapacity this year, local authorities said.

Shanxi required companies to shut down the coal mines before the end of October, make proper arrangement for employees, and restore the environment, according to a notification released by the provincial government.

To improve its industrial structure and pursue greener growth, Shanxi had phased out nearly 116 million tonnes of coal production capacity and shut down 106 coal mines by the end of 2019, official statistics showed. Currently, the province has more than 950 coal mines.

It will speed up efforts to promote coal mining in a more intelligent way. The province aims to implement intelligent mining in all coal mines by 2030.

Company news

Ant Group, a provider of financial services technology in China, launched a new brand, called AntChain, for its blockchain-based solutions.

Since 2015, Ant Group has been investing significantly in the research and development of blockchain technologies to strengthen transparency and build trust in industries that traditionally involve large numbers of participants and complex processes.

According to a report released by the Patent Protection Association of China, AntChain holds the most blockchain patents worldwide with 212 patents as of May 14.

Ant Group has the largest productivity blockchain platform in China, with the ability to process and support 1 billion user accounts and 1 billion transactions every day. Currently, over 100 million digital assets are uploaded onto AntChain on average every day.

The story was written by Xu Jiangshan and Liu Licong and first published at ATimesCN.com. It was translated by Nadeem Xu.

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