On March 18, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, paid a visit to a joint venture in Changsha, located in central China’s Hunan province. During his visit, he acquainted himself with the local efforts to expedite the development of new, high-quality productive forces and to facilitate high-standard opening up.

BASF Shanshan Battery Materials Co., Ltd., situated in Changsha’s Xiangjiang New Area, was established in 2021 by the German chemical giant BASF and Shanshan, a leading Chinese lithium-ion battery materials supplier. The company boasts a well-established research and development (R&D) system, a robust patent portfolio, and a sustainable supply chain with a focus on pioneering new chemical functionalities of positive electrode materials to contribute towards a sustainable future.

The success of BASF Shanshan Battery Materials Co., Ltd. exemplifies the Xiangjiang New Area’s endeavors to nurture new, high-quality productive forces and to expand its growth momentum and advantages.

Statistics indicate that the Xiangjiang New Area’s expenditure on R&D as a percentage of its GDP surpassed five percent for the first time last year, ranking third among all new areas at the national level.

In 2023, the Xiangjiang New Area witnessed the establishment of 27 specialized and sophisticated small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) producing innovative products and 500 high-tech firms, ranking second and third respectively among all state-level new areas. Moreover, the area hosts 64 state-level innovation platforms, representing over 40 percent of the total in Hunan province.

The Xiangjiang New Area’s industrial park, housing Zoomlion, a prominent Chinese construction machinery and equipment manufacturer, showcases innovative achievements in intelligent manufacturing, including the world’s largest-tonnage all-terrain crane and the world’s tallest curved-arm aerial work platform.

With a focus on 15 industrial chains, the Xiangjiang New Area aims to become a nationally significant high ground for advanced manufacturing and a hub of high-end industries.

HS Photonics, a standout enterprise in the Xiangjiang New Area, has independently developed the first generation of quantum dot laser in the domestic industry and co-developed the world’s first silicon optical module sample using quantum dot laser technology with a leading Chinese optical chip manufacturer.

Technological innovation remains a cornerstone of development in the Xiangjiang New Area, as evidenced by the establishment of a state-level open innovation platform for a new generation of AI public computing power and the promotion of scientific innovation programs, including four major science labs and ten landmark projects.

Despite occupying only 0.5 percent of Hunan province’s land area, the Xiangjiang New Area contributes eight percent to the province’s GDP. Its total economic output surged from 160 billion yuan ($22.22 billion) in 2015 to 450 billion yuan in 2023.

Driven by innovation and enabled by technology, the Xiangjiang New Area is unleashing new vitality in its pursuit of high-quality development.