Changchun to rely on innovation as engine of ongoing revitalization

By LIU MINGTAI in Changchun and YANG RAN in Beijing (China Daily) Updated: March 7, 2024


An assembly line of Hongqi, a high-end sedan brand of China FAW Group, in Changchun, Jilin province [YUAN JIGANG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Changchun will place innovation at the core of its revitalization and development strategy, remain fully committed to enhancing its innovation capacity and create an environment that is conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship, Wang Zilian, a deputy to the National People's Congress and mayor of Changchun, told China Daily.

In Changchun, capital of Northeast China's Jilin province, innovation is more than just a buzzword. It is the central tenet around which the city is orchestrating its comprehensive revitalization.

Changchun takes innovation as the primary driving force for development, hoping to transform and upgrade traditional industries through technological innovation, while at the same time nurturing and expanding emerging industries, said Wang.

The automotive sector is a pillar industry in the city and is now poised for a revolutionary shift with the help of technological innovation.

Wang said that Changchun hopes to shift its automotive industry in the direction of new energy vehicles and intelligent connected vehicles in the future.

"We are accelerating the development of projects on new energy cars like Audi's Premium Platform Electric project and Hongqi's NEVs. Changchun aims to achieve a production output of 700,000 NEVs and an automotive sector output value of 1 trillion yuan ($139 billion) by the end of the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25)."

However, Changchun's vision extends beyond its traditional industries. The city is also capitalizing on technological innovation to empower emerging industries.

Wang told China Daily that in the realm of emerging industries, Changchun is focusing on three main areas.

"Changchun will first try to propel its optoelectronic information and medical health industries to break through the 100-billion-yuan mark. Another important area of focus is the development of wind and solar resources and new energy equipment manufacturing. Changchun will try to create application scenarios for the consumption of green electricity and green hydrogen."

The mayor added: "Last but not least is the development of Changchun's tourism industry. The city is dedicated to developing a tourism sector centered on its ice and snow tourism attractions and summer resorts, striving to achieve tourism revenue of 360 billion yuan by the end of the 14th Five-Year Plan period."

In 2023, capitalizing on the boom in Northeast China's ice and snow tourism, Changchun has won the affections of many tourists.

As Xinhua reported, based on calculations by the Data Center of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, in 2023, Changchun attracted an impressive 147 million visits from both domestic and international tourists, representing a year-on-year growth of 161.74 percent. Furthermore, the city's total tourism revenue reached 241.11 billion yuan, marking a year-on-year rise of 208.56 percent.

Changchun's strategic planning does not stop there. The city is also proactively laying the groundwork for future-oriented green industries, focusing on high-tech fields such as hydrogen power, semiconductors and the digital economy, Wang told China Daily.

"Innovation cannot flourish without talent," the mayor emphasized, saying that the local government is committed to creating an environment conducive to innovation.

"First, the city is striving to create employment and a living environment that is attractive to talented individuals. We are vigorously implementing projects aiming to make more talent like university graduates stay and work in Changchun. We will try to make the total talent pool in the city reach 1.7 million by the end of the 14th Five-Year Plan period."

To achieve the above goal, Changchun is actively creating a more entrepreneur-friendly environment, providing convenient conditions and ample opportunities for startups in the city, said Wang.

"We will strengthen the government's service consciousness, increase policy innovation and services in key areas such as technological innovation and industrial upgrading, and ensure the 'last mile' of policy implementation is unobstructed. We hope that through the government's relentless efforts, innovation will become the most distinctive hallmark of Changchun's high-quality development and sustainable revitalization, contributing to the advancement of Chinese modernization," Wang concluded.