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‘Made in Wuhan’ goes into full swing post pandemic

作者:admin 2020-09-13

‘Made in Wuhan’ goes into full swing post pandemic  第1张

Photo: Shen Weiduo/GT

Wearing a mask, eating separately, checking your temperature, frequently using disinfectant and notices which read "epidemic-control is our responsibility" being posted here and there in the Lenovo's factory in Wuhan which employs more than 10,000 workers. Life in the capital city of Central China's Hubei Province, the hardest-hit city during the early
COVID-19 outbreak in the country, is no longer the same.

Nevertheless, life seems to have returned to normal, as the workers guide a mobile phone or tablet through the production line every second. More than 100,000 mobile phones are produced here every day, and then shipped over the country and the world from Wuhan - the Chinese city that emerges from the 76-day lockdown during the COVID-19 epidemic.

This week, workers here witnessed a new 5G foldable phone, the Lenovo's Motorola 5G Razr, assembled, tested and delivered in Wuhan and is ready to ship to more than 160 countries and regions, marking another milestone for the Chinese tech firm, and, a reminder to the rest of the world that the city has not only restored full production capacity, but is marching forward at a faster-than-expected speed.

In the second quarter of the year, the Wuhan East Lake High-Tech Development Zone, known as the "Optics Valley of China" and home to many of big names including Foxconn, Lenovo, and China Star Optoelectronics Technology Co, has achieved a GDP growth of 13.5 percent year-on-year despite virus attack. 

Since resuming production in April, increasing investment both from home and abroad, and the top-down support from the whole country, has empowered Wuhan to restore its manufacturing capability and recover rapidly from the pandemic.

‘Made in Wuhan’ goes into full swing post pandemic  第2张

Technicians work in a workshop of Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd (XMC) in Wuhan Donghu New Technological Development Zone in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, Feb 14, 2020.Photo:Xinhua

In March, US-based manufacturing giant Honeywell has registered a wholly-owned subsidiary Huosheng Industrial Technology Co in Wuhan as its headquarters for the company's mass-mid segment business in China. In early June, the first 200 employees of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi officially moved into its Wuhan headquarters. And on June 20, Mindray Medical International Co,the country's largest medical manufacturer, invested 4.5 billion yuan ($658.43 million) in constructing a base in Wuhan, its second global base worldwide. 

Wuhan Tianhe International Airport will resume direct international flights in mid-September, the city's civil aviation department said on September 1, adding fuel to the city's economic growth.

"A few months ago, Wuhan was in the center of the pandemic storm, but now it has become the weather vane of China's post-pandemic economic development," Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo, said in Wuhan on Thursday.

According to the local newspaper Changjiang Daily, Wuhan's economy in the second quarter has bounced back to the same level in the same period last year, a huge reversal from the first quarter, when its GDP declined 40.5 percent year-on-year.

"Data can show only part of the story, as when you look back, only people who've been gone through it can know how hard it was, and truly understand the resilience and flexibility of China's industrial chain," a production manager at an electronics firm in Wuhan surnamed Zhang, told the Global Times on Friday.

‘Made in Wuhan’ goes into full swing post pandemic  第3张

Firefighters conduct disinfection at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 3, 2020.Photo:Xinhua

The city was cut off from the rest of China and the world after the entire city of 11 million people was placed under lockdown, a move that was unprecedented but also necessary at the time. All work was halted, all transportation stopped and almost everyone was grounded at home, all in an effort to curb the virus.

"The pandemic also made it clear - halting production in Wuhan also means halting the global industrial chain," said Zhang, adding that his firm is still catching up with all the orders from customers - including Foxconn, a key supplier of Apple - that were left behind during the lockdown.

"Many key materials are produced and shipped out of Wuhan to other bases in Brazil and Argentina, thus after the city was 'closed' on January 23, our overseas factories were also greatly impacted," Chen Shuli, a senior executive of Lenovo Group told the Global Times.

"We talked with several factories in South China's Guangdong Province, organized the workers to remain in the city, moved and packed all we could move along the supply chains from Wuhan to Guangdong, and asked workers outside the city who cannot come back to Wuhan to go to factories in Guangdong - that's how we managed to keep our global supply chain running and global shipments during the most difficult time," Chen said.

Starting from mid-March, when pandemic situation saw signs of easing, with the help of local authorities, Lenovo's Wuhan factory sent 400 vehicles to bring 7,000 employees back to the base, and "restart" the base. Full production was restored on April 7.

"Since April, our tablet production has been in full swing and even achieved a rapid growth rate of about 65 percent to 68 percent year-on-year, Chen said.

The full production resumption for Zhang's firm though came later in May, its production also achieved an increase of 40 percent over the past three months compared with the same time last year. 

To supply the world

For most manufactures in the city, and those across the whole country, restoring production is no longer a problem, as how to supply the world demand while pandemic still casts its shadow on some countries is a new priority.

The BGI Group is a firm that has never stopped running during the pandemic and is now busy as usual, while shifting its focus from only supplying Wuhan to the whole country, and now to the whole world.

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Members of staff work at a COVID-19 testing lab built with an air-inflated structure in Daxing District, Beijing, capital of China, June 22, 2020. File photo:Xinhua

"We built a coronavirus lab that can do 10,000 tests in January in just five days - normally, it would take three months," Zhu Shida, BGI's "front-line general commander" in Wuhan, said, adding that working 24 hours a day was normal when the pandemic was most severe.

BGI's Wuhan testing lab, named Huoyan, has tested more than 700,000 people in the Hubei Province. So far, the coronavirus test kits produced in Wuhan have been sent to more than 80 countries and regions, and the whole technology solution and lab model have been replicated and expanded to the world to fight the pandemic, BGI told the Global Times.

China saw sustained and stable improvement in its foreign trade in August, with exports maintaining a strong growth rate of 11.6 percent year-on-year, while total exports have edged back to growth in the first eight months this year - from January to August, China's exports were up by 0.8 percent year-on-year.

"We are still encountering difficulties every day - we are still fighting a lack of some key materials as global pandemic situation has not eased yet," Wan Heng, general manager of Wuhan Hengtong Technology Co, told the Global Times on Friday.

"And we are also striving to increase automation rate of our production line and further increase production during the past months, and encourage our upstream and downstream manufacturers to come closer, and meet demand," said Wan.

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