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Small innovative firms driving big growth in Jilin

Published on 08/23 2019  Source: China Daily

Northeast China's Jilin province has firmly implemented an innovation-driven development strategy in recent years, helping to fuel the local economic development, and also power the transformation and upgrading of the old industrial base.

A number of "small giant" enterprises focused on high-grade, precision and advanced industrial products have demonstrated their value in the province.

The Jilin-1 satellite family -- China's first homegrown commercial remote sensing satellite constellation featuring high-definition images -- helps with forest fire warnings, desertification, offshore rescue, ocean protection and other remote-sensing information services.

"Since the first Jilin-1 was launched into the space in October 2015, 13 satellites in the Jilin-1 family have been sent into orbit," said Jia Hongguang, deputy general manager of Chang Guang Satellite, founded in 2014 in Changchun, the capital city of Jilin. "Now we have greatly improved the satellite service level, including revisiting any place in the world within one day and finishing a general investigation of China in a month."

He added, "the resolution of the satellites has been improved from the first batch's 0.72 meters to more than 1.1 meters. Meanwhile, the weight of the satellite continues to drop. The latest weighs only 40 kilograms, one of the lightest in the world with equivalent technical indicators."

Furthermore, Jilin-1 family satellites have been used for remote sensing more than 20,000 times by governments, research institutes, universities and industrial users since 2015, creating good social and economic benefits.

An aerospace information industrial park funded by the company that integrates satellite research and development, production, testing, and space education will be put into full operation in September.

"The park is expected to have an annual capacity of 30 satellites and 200 unmanned aerial vehicles," said Jia. "It will gradually form an industrial cluster of satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle research and development, production, remote sensing information processing and application."

According to Jia, the company has planned to form a network including 60 satellites by 2020 with the capability of revisiting any location in the world within 30 minutes and observing more than 800 target areas around the world every day.

By 2030, a network of 138 satellites will be finished, achieving the goal of revisiting any location in the world within 10 minutes.

Unlike traditional chemical plants, the digital workshops at Changchun Northern Chemical Filling Equipment Co provide a model of intelligent, safe and environmental protection.

Founded in 1996, the company has been focused on automatic filling production lines, three-dimensional intelligent storage, and digital workshop products.

"Traditionally, 90 percent of the chemical ingredients are injected into empty drums by hand with a filling gun, which is dangerous and toxic, but our production line has replaced people with machines," said Qu Hongwei, the company's vice general manager. "Only eight workers can operate well in a workshop that needed around 300 workers in the past."

The company, which has about 100 employees, more than half of whom work in research and development, has achieved rapid growth in sales revenue in past years.

"A number of core technologies we developed have filled the gap in the domestic industry and reached the domestic leading and international advanced technology level," he said.

Jilin province has 389 such "small giants", which have become a new engine for economic growth. In 2018, these firms achieved a total industrial output value of 39.49 billion yuan and a total revenue of 38 billion yuan, including 29 billion yuan from high-tech products and 2.82 billion yuan from taxes paid. These enterprises now have 14,496 personnel engaged in scientific and technological activities, and hold 5,026 valid patents, including 1,064 invention patents.

"Since 2017, the province has formulated and issued a series of support policies to promote the development of science and technology 'small giants'," said Liu Duo, deputy director of the provincial Department of Science and Technology. "These enterprises have been helping to adjust the province's economic structure and add new momentum for economic transformation and high-quality development."(Source: China Daily)