Steel giant on fast track to suc­cess Bao­gang Group ex­pands it op­er­a­tions as it links up with part­ners in­volved in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By ZHANG YU and YUAN HUI in Bao­tou, In­ner Mon­go­lia

Steel giant Bao­gang Group is on track to ex­pand its thriv­ing busi­ness op­er­a­tions through the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

The sprawl­ing State-owned con­glom­er­ate is one of the largest steel rail man­u­fac­tur­ers in the world with a pro­duc­tion ca­pa­bil­ity of 2.1 mil­lion met­ric tons.

But now the group plans to in­crease its ex­ports as part of Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s ini­tia­tive, which aims to con­nect Asia, Africa and Europe to a mod­ern ver­sion of the an­cient Silk Road.

“As the world’s largest steel rail man­u­fac tur­ing base by c a p a c i ty, B a o g a n g w i l l in­crease ex­ports to more Asian and Euro­pean economies re­lated to ini­tia­tive,” said Liang Zheng­wei, chief en­gi­neer at Bao- gang ’s rail-mak­ing fac­tory.

“About 10 out of 25 coun­tries and re­gions across the world, which have im­ported our prod­ucts, are in­volved in the ini­tia­tive,” he added from the com­pany’s plant at Bao­tou in North China’s In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

Cus­tomers from Viet­nam, Malaysia, In­done­sia and the Philip­pines make up just part of Bao­gang’s over­seas order book.

Fu­eled by the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, mas­sive in­fra­struc­ture projects are be­ing rolled out, in­clud­ing new rail­way net­works.

They need steel rails and bars to sup­port them, boost­ing Bao­gang’s for­eign busi­ness op­er­a­tions.

“Many of the rail con­struc­tion projects are un­der­taken by Chi­nese com­pa­nies, which are Bao­gang clients,” Liang said. “They are like ships tak­ing us over­seas.”

Last year, Bao­gang ex­ported 98,000 tons of steel rails to coun­tries and re­gions re­lated to the ini­tia­tive, data from the com­pany showed, with as­sets worth 166.7 bil­lion yuan ($24.6 bil­lion).

Founded in 1954, the group ex­pects to wheel out 1.8 mil­lion tons of steel rails this year, an in­crease of 10.4 per­cent com­pared to 2016.

Ob­vi­ously, steel rails made by the con­glom­er­ate are heav­ily used in mega-rail­way pro- jects in China.

More than 30 per­cent of the rails here are pro­duced by Bao­gang, Liang said.

In­deed, the Bei­jing-Shang­hai high-speed net­work, the busiest link in China, runs on rails built by the com­pany, as does the 2,000-kilo­me­ter Qing­hai-Ti­bet Rail­way, the world’s high­est al­ti­tude route.

China’s new gen­er­a­tion bul­let train, or “Fux­ing”, which made its de­but last month, will even­tu­ally glide across rails built by Bao­gang when it speeds from Bei­jing to Shang­hai.

“Con­struct­ing high-speed rail­ways, es­pe­cially in com­pli­cated ge­o­log­i­cal en­vi­ron­ments, de­mands the high­est qual­ity of steel rails,” Liang said.

“You need cer­tain char­ac­ter­is­tics, such as high-pu­rity steel, the smooth­ness of the rails’ sur­face and dura­bil­ity, to make that pos­si­ble,’’ he added.

“Ad­vanced equip­ment and tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion have also helped.”

Con­tact the writ­ers at zhangyu1@chi­ and yuan­hui@chi­

in­vest­ment is planned by Zhongke Cen­tury Tech­nol­ogy Co Ltd to build two pro­duc­tion lines

De­vel­oped at the start of the year, the cos­metic is even ed­i­ble. The non­toxic col­orant is red cerium sul­phide, pro­duced by mak­ing rare-earth sul­fide syn­thet­ics in a tun­nel kiln.

The first batch of red cerium sul­phide was pro­duced in Novem­ber by the cen­ter and the aim is to turn out 10 met­ric tons of col­orants an­nu­ally.

“The col­or­ing agent we pro­duce is to­tally en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly,” said Chi Jianyi, di­rec­tor of the cen­ter.

Col­orants are pro­duced from rare earths and sul­fides un­der mild con­di­tions, with­out us­ing hy­dro­gen sul­fides and other toxic ma­te­ri­als.

The pro­duc­tion, based on tech­nol­ogy, is sim­ple and prac­ti­cal with a high yield.

“When ap­plied, the col­orants look per­fect and are sta­ble,” Chi said. “They are not eas­ily af­fected by heat and light.”

They are also free of heavy metal el­e­ments and toxic gases at high tem­per­a­tures.

Zhang Hongjie, a mem­ber of the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences, in­vented the col­orant. “Due to its per­fect col­or­ing and non­toxic prop­er­ties, it can re­place most ex­ist­ing dyes in the mar­ket,” Zhang told China Daily ear­lier this year.


The high-speed rail pro­duc­tion line at a Bao­gang Group fac­tory in Ho­hhot, the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion.


Work­ers check the qual­ity of high-speed rail prod­ucts at a Bao­gang Group work­shop.

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