At Chindata Group’s big-data industrial park in Lingqiu County of Datong City, hundreds of thousands of servers are running round-the-clock to support high-tech enterprises nationwide in such fields as AI, autonomous driving and quantum communication.
The development of the digital economy is advancing in Datong, known as China’s “coal capital.” The coal-producing heartland in north China’s Shanxi Province boasts one eighth of the country’s coal reserves.
While phasing out outdated coal production capacity, the city has been looking for alternative industries for long-term growth. With years of efforts, it has become the province’s pioneer in promoting the digital economy in an effort to achieve high-quality development.
The city has built a total of 140,000 data center design racks and established a server capacity of up to 2 million units. Its computing output has become a new point of growth in a city which traditionally relied on fossil fuel resources.
According to the annual session of the Shanxi Provincial People’s Congress, which concluded on Monday, the value of the province’s digital economy exceeded 500 billion yuan (about 74.6 billion U.S. dollars) by the end of 2022.
In addition to Datong, other traditional coal-producing cities of Lyuliang and Yangquan in the province are also promoting digital economy in the fields of big data, smart mining and unmanned driving.
At 500 meters underground, robots are patrolling to monitor mining in the Xinyuan coal mine of the Lu’an Chemical Group Co., Ltd. Assisted by 5G technology, the automated inspectors send real-time data to the mining company’s control center to check mining safety.
Xinyuan became China’s first 5G network-covered coal mine in 2020. Mining managers can view the operational situation in 31 underground working scenarios, including ventilation fans and mining faces, via the smart operating system.
Ping Qingzhong, an expert with the Institute of Internet Industry, Tsinghua University, said the development of the digital economy in Shanxi has a solid industrial base, especially in the energy industry, and its digital economic development, based on upgrading these traditional industries, has broad prospects.
At the meeting of the provincial legislature, the provincial government set the goal of an annual growth rate of more than 15 percent for its digital economic development in the next five years.
Liu Yong, deputy director of the Shanxi provincial department of industry and information technology, said that Shanxi would strengthen the building of digital infrastructure to empower the digital transformation of traditional industries, and provide strong support for all-around high-quality development.