GUANGZHOU, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) — The latest statistics show that the city of Dongguan, dubbed the “factory of the world,” in south China’s Guangdong Province, reported a GDP of over 1 trillion yuan (157.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2021, up 8.2 percent year on year.
This marks that Dongguan becomes the 24th Chinese city whose GDP has surpassed 1 trillion yuan so far. Dongguan’s crossing the GDP threshold of 1 trillion yuan further demonstrates the strong resilience of China’s economy.
As the vane of Chinese foreign trade, the city’s foreign trade has been gravely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years. The previous lack of orders and the later lack of workers as well as a shortage of containers had all affected the normal foreign trade of the city.
However, in January 2021, the growth rate of Dongguan’s foreign trade stopped falling and started to pick up. The total import and export volume of the year reached 1.52 trillion yuan, up 14.6 percent year on year.
Dongguan Ramaxel Technology Company, a DRAM module manufacturer, temporarily transformed its meeting rooms into staff dormitories during the hardest time of the COVID-19 outbreak last year, for the sake of a due production schedule and epidemic prevention and control needs. In 2020, the output value of the company was less than 2 billion yuan, but the figure notched up more than 10 billion yuan merely a year later.
In 2021, the industrial added value of major enterprises in Dongguan reached about 500.9 billion yuan, up 10.2 percent year on year, and its industrial investment increased by 25.3 percent year on year, showing entrepreneurs’ confidence in the future.
Overseas investment also continues to favor the city. In the first three quarters of 2021, there were 76 projects with investments of over 10 million U.S. dollars in Dongguan, involving foreign investment of nearly 3.75 billion U.S. dollars, up 111.5 percent year on year.
Such a rapid bounce back in its economic performances can be partly owing to the local government’s timely and precise assistance and coordination work.
Acting according to the circumstances of every local company, the local economic operation monitoring and dispatching headquarters rolled out a series of favorable policies and effective measures to bail out the companies trapped in the epidemic.
Another welcome change in the “world factory” is its upgraded industry distribution. Previously, it heavily relied on low-margin processing trade and labor-intensive industries.
Born in Dongguan, Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) Limited is among the world’s largest original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of sports shoes and casual shoes for world-renowned brands. At its peak, the company boasted about 150,000 employees. Due to the rising labor costs over the years, the factory eventually moved to Vietnam.
Nowadays, the traditional best-sellers in Dongguan’s foreign trade, including clothing, shoes and hats, have been replaced by high value-added products such as smartphones. Mechanical and electrical products now account for more than 70 percent of Dongguan’s total export value.
In 2021, Dongguan’s high-end manufacturing industry grew rapidly. For instance, the output value of industrial robot products increased by 66.8 percent, integrated circuits increased by 22.5 percent, and new energy vehicles increased by 62.5 percent.
The founder of Dongguan’s Tianyu semiconductor technology company, or TYSiC, was experienced in the city’s papermaking industry but turned to the nascent semiconductor sector in 2009. Last year, the tech company recorded an output value equivalent to the sum of the previous three years and saw its sales reach 160 million yuan.
Dongguan has vowed to take scientific and technological innovation as its engine to drive the city’s advanced manufacturing industry, a brand new blueprint for the future of the “world factory.”
In 2021, the city saw the total investment in its high-tech manufacturing industries soar by 26.2 percent year on year. At present, there are 7,387 state-level high-tech enterprises in Dongguan, and the number is still growing by almost 1,000 annually in recent years.
The Songshan Lake Materials Laboratory, jointly built by the municipal government and a renowned research institute in China, has attracted more than 5 billion yuan of investment at its initial stage of development. Songshan Lake Science City, where the joint lab is located, is planned to be built as a pilot area of a comprehensive national science center in the Greater Bay Area.
The lab is committed to studies on advanced science and the combination of science resources and local industrial development, which is expected to help the “world factory” further innovate and upgrade its industrial forms in the new era, according to Chen Dongmin, executive deputy director of the lab.