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Guangxi Catches Up
Special> Guangxi Catches Up
UPDATED: December 1, 2008 NO.49 DEC.4, 2008
Prosperity Minus Pollution
Guangxi refusing to compromise the environment in return for development

The paper plant is also environment conscious. "We use environment protection equipment imported from the Netherlands and can meet all the environmental standards. The government gave us tax privileges for importing such equipment," Hong said.

Guangxi Qiaowang Paper Packing Products Co. Ltd. in the Nanning Economic and Technology Development Zone is similar to Laibin East Sugar Paper. It also uses sugarcane dregs to produce paper products, such as one-time use degradable tableware. Its products are widely used by railways, airlines and the catering industry. Two or three years into operation, the company employs 500 people, with an annual production value of 35 million yuan ($5.12 million) and profit of more than 10 percent. According to the senior management of the company, the company sells its products primarily to foreign countries such as the United States, Japan and France. In the first 11 months of 2008, the total export volume reached 20 million yuan ($2.93 million).

Cement without the dust

Guigang is a port city in southeast Guangxi, accessible by ship with a cargo capacity of more than 1,000 tons. It is a 30-hour-plus ride by ship to Hong Kong and Macao.

The favorable geographical location of Guigang attracted China Resources Cement Holdings Ltd. to set up a production base, China Resources Cement (Guigang) Ltd., in January 2004. A total of 1.3 billion yuan ($190 million) was invested in the plant, with an annual production capacity of 4 million tons and production value of 1 billion yuan ($150 million). Cement produced in the city can be transported to the port through pipelines and loaded into ships, which saves transportation costs.

China Resources Cement (Guigang) attaches great importance to environmental protection. According to Feng Guozhong, head of the Qintang District of Guigang, where the cement company is located, China Resources Cement (Guigang) has invested more than 70 million yuan ($10.25 million) in pollution control.

The dust emission per cubic meter for the company is about 30 milligrams, much lower than the national standard of 100 mg, and even lower than the international standard of 50 mg. Beijing Review also found that the outlets of cement transportation pipes have been fitted with special dust-control equipment.

In the meanwhile, China Resources Cement (Guigang) has also invested over 3 million yuan ($440,000) in planting trees and grass around the plant. Currently, 40 percent of the plant area is covered with green.

The cement company also partners with neighboring companies in recycling their byproducts. The industrial waste from these companies is used as raw material to produce cement. The company has also built a power-generation unit that turns heat produced during cement production into power. It generates more than 80 million kw of electricity each year, which is reused in cement production, cutting the cost of producing one ton by 10 to 15 yuan ($1.46 to $2.12).

Other cement companies have followed in the footsteps of China Resources Cement (Guigang), and settled in the area. Over time, nearly 100 cement plants in Guigang have merged into several large factories, and cement production has become the backbone industry of the city.

Dirty projects rejected

Wuzhou City, in eastern Guangxi, is close to more developed Guangdong. Wuzhou Industrial Park was founded in September 2000 and now houses 60 companies, more than 80 percent of which have transferred here from east China.

According to Dong Xuehong, Deputy Director of the Administration Committee of Wuzhou Industrial Park from 2003 to 2005, the park was forced to give up many investment opportunities due to infrastructure constraints. However, since 2006 the park has been in a period of accelerated development.

Industrial parks in various parts of Guangxi compete fiercely with each other to attract companies migrating from east China. Wuzhou Industrial Park is no exception, but has staunchly refused to lower its environmentally friendly standards to attract investors.

"We conduct environment appraisals for every project. We have rejected dozens of companies, because they cannot meet our environmental standards, " Dong said.

In November 2007, Win Hanverky Holdings Ltd., a Hong Kong-listed company that produces sportswear for the famous international brand Adidas, moved onto Wuzhou Industrial Park. Its subsidiary company in the industrial park has an annual production capacity of 15 million pieces of clothing, with an annual production value of 600 million yuan ($87.85 million).

Wu Gang, 23, is a worker in the clothing company. His job is to put the Adidas trademark on shorts. His monthly salary is about 1,000 yuan ($146.41). Wu is a native of Wuzhou, and he was once a migrant worker in richer provinces.

"In recent years, Guangxi has grown fast, and this has created many job opportunities. Although the pay is lower than in more developed regions, I want to work in my hometown," Wu said. An increasing number of people like Wu are returning to work in their hometowns.

Across the street from Wu's workplace is Guangxi Aoqili Co. Ltd., a private company that produces household products such as toothpaste and detergent. The company got into Wuzhou Industrial Park after acquiring another company in Wuzhou.

"Our company invested more than 8 million yuan ($1.17 million) in a central wastewater-treatment system. With this system we will not discharge any wastewater into the rivers," Zhong Zhaoqing, General Manager of the company said.

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