Changfeng county in E China's Anhui blazes trail to high-quality development

(People's Daily Online) 10:11, September 26, 2023

Despite being listed as a national-level impoverished county in 1994, Changfeng county in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province, emerged as one of the country's top 100 counties in comprehensive strength in 2016.

In the first half of 2023, the county's GDP exceeded 40.7 billion yuan (about $5.6 billion), up 17.8 percent year on year, with the growth rate ranking first among all counties and cities in the province.

Photo shows the Shuangfeng industrial park in Changfeng county, Hefei city, east China's Anhui Province. (Photo/Zhou Tiansheng)

"Changfeng has 14 townships and towns and one development zone. We adjust the distribution of industries according to Hefei's development orientation," said Li Mingshan, Party chief of the county.

In just over 10 years, the northern part of Changfeng has become a new consumption center, a new hub of services for scientific and technological innovation, and a new example of improving work and living conditions in Hefei.

Changfeng has advanced agricultural modernization according to local conditions. The southern part of the county has developed industries such as seed, smart agriculture, synthetic biology, and fungus, while its northern part has introduced smart technologies to the strawberry industry, ensuring that the output value of the strawberry sector’s entire industrial chain surpasses 10 million yuan.

The county has attracted investment from the automobile industrial chain. Home to a new energy vehicle (NEV) industrial park, Xiatang town in the center of the county aims to achieve an output value of 100 billion yuan. China's leading NEV manufacturer, BYD, has a modern factory in the town.

"Driven by BYD, Xiatang town signed industrial chain projects with a total investment of approximately 35 billion yuan last year," said Shi Lei, executive deputy head of Changfeng county.

Employees work at a strawberry base in Shuihu township, Changfeng county, Hefei city, east China's Anhui Province. (Photo/Kong Genlong)

Shi added that after completion, BYD's Hefei base is expected to create about 100,000 jobs.

"Now we have an auto factory and other 10-billion-yuan projects in the automobile industrial chain," said Fan Shaobin, Party chief of the town.

Changfeng is also a pilot county for comprehensive energy reform and innovation. The county is focusing on industry, agriculture, construction, and transport, and has built nine demonstration projects according to the pilot plan.

The technological demonstration base that integrates the photovoltaic industry and smart agriculture in Taolou township is one of those projects. "The annual income from photovoltaic power generation has reached 150,000 yuan, and that from each container used for raising crucian carps exceeds 60,000 yuan," said Zhang Xuesuo, chairman of a local company.

Changfeng county has made unremitting efforts to improve its business environment and provide sound services for enterprises and businesses. Thanks to these efforts, the county signed a cumulative 60 billion yuan worth of projects in 2022, including 78 projects each worth more than 100 million yuan.

In 2020, the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) signed agreements with the People's Government of Hefei city and the People's Government of Changfeng county to build an intelligent agricultural valley in the county. The agricultural base has promoted the application of agricultural sensors, big data, robots, new materials, and the in-depth integration of artificial intelligence and agriculture.

Today, the intelligent agricultural valley has more than 280 researchers, including nearly 100 with a master's degree or a doctorate.

Prioritizing innovation is key to Changfeng county achieving leapfrog development. "We are encouraging researchers from colleges and universities to go to enterprises to tackle difficulties in research and development," said Zhang Fan, director of the county's science and technology bureau. The official added that during this process, the local government gives awards and enterprises pay wages to researchers who provide technologies which solve technological problems that emerge during enterprises’ production processes.

Meanwhile, an inflow of talents has also driven the development of Changfeng county. Maying village in the county was once a typical "hollow village," a term used to refer to a village where most young people have migrated outside for work, leaving behind only the elderly and children. In 2015, a plan was launched to boost the village’s development.

"We hoped to attract volunteers and entrepreneurs so they can change the village," said Zhong Yu, first Party secretary of the village.

So far, Maying village has attracted over 40 entrepreneurial teams thanks to its supportive policies, while many villagers have also returned to the village.

The inflow of talents has also boosted rural revitalization in Changfeng county. At present, all 244 villages in the county have seen a thriving collective economy, with an average annual income of 1.12 million yuan.

"We will work toward the goal of common prosperity and write new chapters in high-quality development," said Li.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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