Oceanalpha's new USV plant to enhance region's marine economy

Published on 09/26 2018  Source: China Daily


China's first unmanned surface vehicle plant in Zhuhai, due to open in 2019, will add to the southern coastal city's growing fame as a center for the burgeoning marine industry. 

The plant, with an investment of 300 million yuan ($43.8 million), aims to complete an industrial chain that includes research, development, testing and manufacturing of USVs, said Zhang Yunfei, founder of Oceanalpha, the major investor in the project. USVs are unmanned, oceangoing vessels designed to conduct environmental measurements, hydrographic surveys and other oceanic investigations in a safe, cost-effective manner. 

Zhang said several scientific research institutes with leading marine technologies, along with national key laboratories from universities and manufacturing giants of advanced equipment, have confirmed a decision to set up operations in the harbor plant or have expressed the intention to do so. 

"We expect the iteration of the USV technologies could be increased by five to 10 times after the plant is put into use," said Zhang, the youngest on the list of the "Thousand Talents Program", China's top-level project to attract overseas-returned elites. 

Zhang founded Oceanalpha, a USV developer and solutions provider, in 2010. Since then, it has become the leader of China's USV sector. 

It holds more than 100 patented technologies for the USV, accounting for one fourth of the total in the world, the company announced. 

The plant is just one part of Zhuhai's ambition to develop the marine economy into a major economic driver in the city. 

According to the city's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), the marine industry will generate an output of 180 billion yuan by the end of 2020 with an average annual growth of 13.5 percent. 

In 2017, the industrial output of the marine economy reached a record high of 124.4 billion yuan, up 14.6 percent from a year earlier, government statistics show. (Source: China Daily)