Zhejiang city seeks quality growth with digital economy
The file photo shows socks made in Zhuji city of Zhejiang province.[Photo:zj.zjol.com.cn]
Zhejiang often tops the list of China's provinces when it comes to economic growth, thanks to its strong manufacturing sector. Now the province is seeking to build on its strengths, thanks to its new digital strategy.
Datang, a small town in Zhuji City that manufactures 7.5 billion pairs of socks a year, accounting for a third of the global output.
The city has gone through a long-term industrial transformation, from being the home to traditional socks manufacturers to a modern production center for socks, thanks to industrial investments totaling 5 billion yuan.
Throughout this process, the digital economy has played a critical role.
Zhu Yabin is the deputy director of the innovation center in Datang socks town in Zhejiang. He says the innovation center can provide local companies with real-time data about the whole industrial chain for the socks industry, ranging from manufacturing to sales.
"Companies can log onto our website and get updated data that helps them to improve their manufacturing and sales with scientific precision."
Local socks manufacture Caramella said its newly-designed product has been a strong seller. As one of the company's managers, Cai Haojun, explains, Caramella saw sales reach 120 million yuan last year thanks to data provided by the city's innovation center.
"Nowadays, e-commerce and companies like us rely on big data. As our business grows, we aim to go public on a main-board market in five years. "
In 2003, when Xi Jinping was then provincial party secretary in Zhejiang, he proposed a development strategy that would see Zhejiang develop into a center of advanced manufacturing, and that saw the development of the digital economy as a priority.
In April, China's e-commerce giant Alibaba, which is based in Zhejiang, acquired Hangzhou C-SKY Microsystems, a company that develops chip architectures.
Alibaba said the purchase of C-SKY Microsystems will help it to increase its chip-making capability amid China's campaign to gain self-reliance in key technologies.
Song Ye from Alibaba said the move marks a transition by the company into the top-level industrial chain in the digital economy.
"The acquisition is an important step for Alibaba's chip development."
Zhejiang ranks fourth in terms of GDP among the 30-plus provincial areas in China.
Official statistics show that the digital economy accounts for over 37 percent of the economic growth in Zhejiang.
And Yuan Jiajun, the governor of Zhejiang province, says that the focus on high-quality growth will continue.
"Any project that is not helpful to quality growth here should be crossed off our to-do list. We should be consistent in terms of introducing projects. We should figure out what our priorities are as we pursue quality growth."
Zhejiang Province reported economic growth of 7.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018, which is 0.6 percentage points higher than the national average.