Hurt coal city goes green for new life

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By SHI BAOYIN in Pingding­shan, He­nan and ZHANG ZHOUX­I­ANG in Bei­jing Con­tact the writ­ers through zhangzhoux­i­ang@ chi­

At a re­cent press con­fer­ence, the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion, China’s top eco­nomic­plan­ner, said this year’s plan to cut 250 mil­lion met­ric tons of coal over­ca­pac­ity might be fin­ished ahead of time.

That’s good news for the eco­nomic struc­ture. But what about the work­ers of the in­dus­try?

Pingding­shan city in Cen­tral China’sHe­nan prov­ince, which used to rely on coal pro­duc­tion for its econ­omy, has cre­atively solved this prob­lem by de­vel­op­ing green in­dus­tries to em­ploy the for­mer coal work­ers.

China Ping­mei Shenma Group, one of the city’s main coal com­pa­nies, has shut down 14 coal mines and cut 2.58 mil­lion tons of pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity. It said it plans to cut more over­ca­pac­ity in the year.

That cut means 17,735 jobs have dis­ap­peared. AndCPSG is only one of the com­pa­nies to cut over­ca­pac­ity. Com­pared with five years ago, the ca­pac­ity of six high en­er­gy­con­sum­ing in­dus­tries in the over­all industrial sec­tor has dropped by 14.3 per­cent.

An­a­lysts said jobs are a prob­lem for not only the in­di­vid­u­als, but also the com­pany and lo­cal govern­ment, be­cause jobs con­cern so­cial sta­bil­ity.

While shut­ting down the coal mines, the mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment of Pingding­shan has been ac­tively cul­ti­vat­ing green in­dus­tries to pre­vent the unem­ploy­ment rate from ris­ing.

The city has good lo­cal con­di­tions that can help. It owns the great Yaoshan Moun­tain Bud­dha Sculp­ture, which is a na­tional 5A-level tourist site, the high­est-level rat­ing, as well as a na­tion-level eco­log­i­cal tourist area. Be­sides, there are six 4A-level tourist sites and 19 A-level ones.

“Pingding­shan has been rec­og­nized as an ex­cel­lent tourism city of the na­tion, and we have plenty of tourism re­sources,” said Zhang Guowei, mayor of Pingding­shan.

From Jan­uary to Au­gust this year, th­ese tourist sites

Pingding­shan has been rec­og­nized as an ex­cel­lent tourism city ... and we have plenty of tourism re­sources.” Pingding­shan

Zhang Guowei,

mayor of

re­ceived 21.2 mil­lion vis­i­tors in all, bring­ing in a rev­enue of 8.8 bil­lion yuan ($1.3 bil­lion). Cur­rently, the tourism sec­tor pro­vides at least 100,000 jobs for the whole city, in­clud­ing those work­ing in 3,000 lo­cal ho­tels and 49 travel agen­cies.

Be­sides tourism, Pingding­shan has also pro­vided fa­vor­able poli­cies for high­tech com­pa­nies, to make their in­dus­tries greener. “En­ter­prises must im­prove their ca­pa­bil­ity of in­no­va­tion that also helps op­ti­mize the eco­nomic struc­ture,” said Chen Run’er, gov­er­nor ofHe­nan.

Ping­gao Group, a branch of State Grid Cor­po­ra­tion of China, the na­tion’s power gi­ant, is one of the com­pa­nies de­vel­op­ing high tech­nolo­gies.

Dur­ing a time whenChina still lacked a do­mes­ti­cal­lypro­duced oil cir­cuit breaker, Ping­gao Group first in­tro­duced the tech­nol­ogy for a SF6 cir­cuit breaker and de­vel­oped newtech­nolo­gies.

“We have at least six in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies in­volv­ing the cir­cuit breaker, which broke the na­tion’s past de­pen­dency on for­eign prod­ucts,” said Zhang Li, a re­searcher at the group. “We will con­tinue de­vel­op­ing newtech­nolo­gies.”

The city in­vested 1.5 bil­lion yuan onR&Ddur­ing the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), and got 568 patents. Of­fi­cial data shows that the per­cent­age of high-tech in­dus­tries in the industrial sec­tor in­creased by 9.8 per­cent­age points from 2012 to 2016.

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