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China Communications Construction Company / Team Vibrance

Chinese expert gains fame building European bridge

Updated: 2023-11-23
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In 2014, Xiang Chunyang, an electrician with 22 years of work experience in China and having worked on 9 projects across the country, headed to Serbia. The personal skills he applied on the Zemun-Borča Bridge brought fame to Chinese workers in Europe.

The Zemun-Borča Bridge was the first bridge to be built by a Chinese infrastructure company in Europe. It is known as the "China-Serbia Friendship Bridge", and is also the first step of the Belt and Road Initiative in Central and Eastern Europe. By completing the Zemun-Borča Bridge to a high standard, Chinese companies proved their capability to enter the European infrastructure market.


Xiang Chunyang, an employee of the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC)

Xiang Chunyang is a well-known and excellent employee of the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC). When the Zemun-Borča Bridge project started, the project team unanimously recommended Xiang as the electrician.

"That's because I can endure hardships," said Xiang, when it comes to the reason why he was chosen for the project.

Working on projects abroad is far less convenient than in China, especially in terms of equipment and limited resources. Sometimes, a higher price would be paid if no other way could be found.

The removal of the temporary concrete support of Zemun Bridge gave the project team a challenge: manual removal was inefficient and time-consuming. Moreover, this traditional method could not be a true representation of the level of Chinese construction and would see the nation become an international laughing stock. However, large equipment could not enter, and the project team had neither the specialized equipment nor the personnel.

Just when the project team had no solution to the problem, Xiang started to use the existing materials on the construction site to transform an old mining rope sawing machine. After 3 days of non-stop debugging, he finally completed the transformation.

On the first day of using his homemade equipment at the construction site, he attracted many colleagues at the site, including local Serbian friends. With the cooperation of several labor workers, Xiang quickly removed a concrete support, eventually solving the problems and deeply impressing the foreign workers. Xiang's homemade equipment saved the project half a month of construction time and more than 20,000 euros in costs.


Xiang Chunyang, an employee of the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC)

In addition, though the project had sufficient funds for bridge construction, Xiang has adhered to his money-saving ethos for many years. In Serbia, the winter temperature is low, with heavy snowfall making the machinery and electrical equipment vulnerable to damage. The local maintenance costs are high and inconvenient, not to mention untimely. Without hesitation, Xiang took on the responsibility of repairing the entire project's motors and cables. Up to now, the project has been ongoing for nearly three years, and there has never been any additional cost for motor or cable repairs.

"I feel more at ease after checking these pieces of equipment myself. Equipment maintenance is mainly about prevention. If we only repair them after something is broken, it would not only cost more money but also result in everyone doing more work."

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