The hi-tech industry in Zibo, a prefecture level city in eastern China`s Shandong province, demonstrated robust growth throughout 2008. The sector generated more than 178 billion yuan in annual industrial output value, accounting for some 34 percent of the city`s total.
The new materials sector contributed 58 percent of the city`s total hi-tech industrial output value last year, up to more than 103 billion yuan, establishing it as one of the city`s core economic contributors. Behind this boom lies a huge investment into research and development (R&D) in this sector.
The city now houses 138 engineering technological centers at provincial level and above, with seven of them operating at a State-level. In the new materials research field alone, 84 engineering centers are operational, including five State-level, 53 provincial-level and 11 post-doctoral centers. The number of hi-tech companies currently registered is 93.
Through years of continuous effort, a number of companies and institutions have developed several proprietary technologies and products. The local ceramics industry, for instance, has been granted more than 200 patents. Hi-tech ceramics are now widely used across a range of area, notably in the aerospace, defense industry and nuclear energy sectors.
Finding success in an entirely different sector is the locally-based Jinjing Group. Its state-of-the-art glass products have been specified for use in Tibet-bound trains and in a number of Beijing Olympic facilities, including the Bird`s Nest and the Water Cube. It has also been widely used in a number of other landmark buildings at home and abroad.
To date, the city has to its credit more than a thousand technological breakthroughs and creative successes. Among these, 13 have won national awards for technological progress and 148 have been honored with provincial awards.
Currently, local hi-tech companies and research institutions are working on 612 technological projects at the provincial level and above, with one of them listed among the key items in the national scientific and technological program. The city`s total patent applications now number 23,343, with more than half of them having already been granted.
As a result of its demonstrative strength in technological innovation, the city has been designated as a center for the commercialization and industrialization of new materials, biomedicines and advanced ceramics.
As one of the foremost production centers for new materials, the city`s production capacity of green refrigerants, plastic agents and fireproof fiber reportedly ranks as number one in Asia.
At present, a number of industries, especially those concerned with new materials, pharmaceuticals, biological technologies and electronic information, have grown into key sectors driving the city`s hi-tech industrial development.