[Ferro-Alloys.com] Resource-rich Shanxi province in North China is trying to shake off its dependence on coal by investing in alternative industries for sustainable growth.
One-third of China's coal reserves are located in Shanxi, which used to "power half of the country's light bulbs". Yet decades of dependence on coal has given Shanxi's economy deep-seated structural problems.
Depending on a single resource is risky business for any economy, especially when the resource is nonrenewable. Diversification of the economy has become the only way out.
The Shanxi Transition and Comprehensive Reform Demonstration Zone, located in the city of Taiyuan, was established in 2017 as one of the province's significant steps away from a coal-dominated economic structure.
The zone is intended to become an innovation hub for emerging industries such as big data, internet of things, cross-border e-commerce, advanced manufacturing, new materials, energy conservation, new energy vehicles and modern logistics.
The government said it hopes that achievements made in the zone can be repeated across the entire province.
Since its establishment less than three years ago, the zone has introduced 138 projects in emerging sectors, involving a total investment worth 230 billion yuan ($33 billion).
Bringing in projects is only one step in the process of transforming the local economy.
From January to November last year, the added value of non-coal industries above a designated size in Shanxi grew 6.4 percent year-on-year.
Their contribution to the provincial total was 57.1 percent, 14.2 percentage points higher than that of the coal industry, according to the Shanxi Statistics Bureau.
Between 2016 and 2018, Shanxi province shut down 88 coal mines, phasing out 88.41 million metric tons of excess coal production capacity, the biggest amount of any province nationwide, Xinhua News Agency reported.(chinadaily)