Across China: Xinjiang's manufacturing sector rides smart wave

Agricultural films, measuring 22 meters in width and weighing over 800 kg, are extruded from a 50-meter-tall plastic film blowing machine, and then collected by an automated mechanical arm.

This is a common sight in a state-of-the-art plastic film factory in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

With only 80 workers in an area of more than 60,000 square meters, the factory, owned by Xinjiang Rival Tech Co., Ltd. reported an output value of nearly 700 million yuan (about 104 million U.S. dollars) last year.

Liu Shengrong, the company's general manager, said the production lines in his factory have been equipped with world-leading technologies.

Liu plans to buy more smart equipment to cater to the expanding overseas markets and the factory is expected to bring in extra revenue of 300 to 400 million yuan this year.

Liu's company is among a growing number of manufacturers in Xinjiang which are hoping to ride the wave of intelligent technology, as the region aims to build itself into a high-end manufacturing hub on the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Data from the regional statistics bureau shows that the value added of the hi-tech manufacturing in Xinjiang rose by 32.1 percent year-on-year in 2018.

In the factory of Zhuolang Intelligent Machinery Co., Ltd., another Urumqi-based company, workers are busy assembling an intelligent spinning machine that can make different types of yarn with its over 550 computer-controlled spindles and can automatically fix broken yarn with its mechanical arm.

"The machine features magnetic levitation technology, which enables its spindles to rotate at 180,000 revolutions per minute," said Wu Zhengchun, the company's general manager.

Wu said the spinning machines have been mainly sold across Xinjiang, one of China's major cotton production bases as well as to India and countries in central and western Asia.