Secrets to Tongling’s prospering copper industry

An employ of CRRC Yangtze Tongling Rolling Stock Co., Ltd., Tongling, east China's Anhui Province works with a machine tool, March 2, 2021. (Photo by Mei Jianguang/People's Daily Online)  

Copper foil is considered a ” neural network” for signal reception of electronic products and power transmission. It is an indispensable new material for the development of new industries.

How thin can this material be? In a workshop of an enterprise in Tongling, east China’s Anhui Province, copper foils are made as thin as cicada wings.

According to an employee of the enterprise, the copper foils, which are only 6 mm (0.23 inches) thick and used in lithium-ion batteries, can be applied in new energy vehicle, smart phone, aviation and aerospace and other industries. They can significantly improve batteries’ energy density and thus extend battery life, the employee added.

Today, new discoveries, technologies, products and materials are emerging at a faster speed, and technological innovation and research are generating infinite possibilities. This means that those whoever can do a good job in industrial upgrading and rapidly grasp new technologies and materials will gain an advantage in industrial reform.

For cities, only by taking advantage of the motivating role of reform, accelerating the development of advanced manufacturing, and enhancing real economy, can they find effective paths leading to a new development paradigm.

Tongling, which has been hailed as the “capital of copper” in China since ancient times, enjoys rich resources, and its industries have also been going through constant upgrading.

To pursue high-quality development, new industries in the city, represented by the copper foil sector, have built new industrial clusters based on an upgrade of their industrial chain.

Rolls of copper foils being produced, as well as boxes of products to be shipped to downstream enterprises indicate the vitality of the copper foil sector and development potential of Tongling.

Accurate positioning leads to faster development. In Tongling’s Yi’an Economic Development Zone, there is a metalware industrial park where enterprises from Jiaxing, east China’s Zhejiang Province have settled and established industrial clusters that integrate the industrial and supply chains.

The trans-provincial cooperation project effectively allocates geographical, technological and land resources, forming a tiered industrial structure in the Yangtze River delta and thus promoting the flow of production factors and optimizing economic structure.

Industrial development is about both quantity and quality, and the two are primarily driven by innovation. Some of Tongling’s products and technologies are very competitive, because the manufacturers have to some extent replaced imported high-end integrated circuit materials with domestically produced ones. A part of them are the first of their kinds in China, and some even broke the foreign technological monopoly.

To enhance future-oriented basic research and supply of technologies at the source, and carry out R&D for generic technology will help break technological bottlenecks. Practices have proved that as long as enterprises, universities and institutions work together, technological breakthroughs can be made, and market entities will also gain an edge in competition with technological innovation.

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