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Nantong weaving new path with digital transformation

By LIANG KAIYAN |  China Daily Global |  Updated:2023-01-03

Hailed as the capital of textiles, Nantong lives up to this reputation as it has witnessed a slew of businesses thriving for years.

The prime example is Jiangsu Dasheng Group, formerly known as Dasheng Yarn Factory, which was founded in 1895 by Nantong native Zhang Jian, an entrepreneur in modern China and an academic at the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Dasheng is China's first large-scale cotton-spinning business. It was established in a vision to save the country by developing industries. During that turbulent period, Zhang overcame difficulties in raising capital, buying land and constructing plants. It took the founder 44 months to finally build the initial spinning factory, which has a production size of 20,000 spindles. This laid a solid foundation for industry in modern China.

After more than 120 years of development, Dasheng has not only fulfilled its commitment to the nation, but became a conglomerate that operates textile, foreign trade and cultural creative product businesses. Manual machines at the former factory had been replaced by automated equipment.

With the country's development in promoting intelligent manufacturing, Dasheng has embraced digital upgrading in recent years.

In 2015, Dasheng built the digital spinning workshop, the first of its kind in the country, during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20). This move helped save the cost of human resources, requiring only 15 workers for 10,000 spindles.

"Now the workshop, which has a production size of 50,000 spindles, generates around 30 million yuan ($4.29 million) in profit with only 75 workers," said Li Lannyu, deputy director of the digital spinning workshop.

"Founder Zhang is an industrialist who develops education and promotes technological innovation. And we are obliged to carry forward his spirit in striving for greater development."

According to Li, Dasheng has updated the facilities at half of its plants, which will be further upgraded into digital and intelligent equipment. All of the equipment is made and produced in China.

"As a traditional manufacturing business, we will continue digital and intelligent transformation, focusing on low-carbon production and green development.

"We aim to develop a proprietary industrial chain to make Dasheng a famous brand in Jiangsu, China, and across the world," Li added.

From a business that was founded to serve the nation's pressing needs to becoming an industry-leading giant that embarks on digital development, the development of Dasheng is the epitome of Nantong's manufacturing.

Located in the north of the Yangtze River Delta close to the sea, Nantong has leveraged its geographical advantages and the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region. Nantong has accelerated its pace in manufacturing over the past decade.

The city has transformed its traditional light textile industry into three pillar industries of marine engineering, high-end textiles and electronic information; three emerging industries of intelligent equipment, new materials and new energy; and other advantageous industries.

Early this year, the Nantong city government issued a three-year action plan for the intelligent and digital transformation of manufacturing. Its bid is to advance the construction of Nantong into a base for high-end manufacturing in the Yangtze River Delta region.

By 2024, Nantong is expected to have 5,700 businesses above designated size complete their digital transformation, according to the plan.


A staff member of Jiangsu Dasheng Group inspects the group's digital spinning workshop. GEORGIOS DOUPAS/FOR CHINA DAILY

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