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Zhejiang village takes unique path to prosperity

China Daily| Updated: May 17, 2023 L M S


The mahogany furniture production base in Huayuan village in Dongyang, Zhejiang province. WANG JIANGHONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Huayuan village in Dongyang, Zhejiang province, first turned to mahogany furniture, and then to new materials and biomedicine as part of its rural vitalization efforts.

The entire village of 65,000 people has been lifted out of poverty. Each family now has a modern house, and private cars are common.

Huayuan had an operating income of 65.5 billion yuan ($9.48 billion) from enterprises in the village, with annual per capita income rising to 165,000 yuan last year.

Yet 40 years ago, its population was just 496, per capita income was 87 yuan and only a few families lived in houses with tiled roofs.

"I started to be interested in mahogany furniture when I was 16. I have witnessed the development of the mahogany furniture industry here for the past two decades," said Lei Qinglian, who now owns four big booths at the mahogany furniture production center. "Huayuan village has a mahogany furniture production center with a complete industrial chain and the characteristics of an industrial cluster."

In the early 1980s, Shao Qinxiang, chairman of the Huayuan Group, which manages the furniture production center in Dongyang, said that Huayuan should change its path to development and instead try to create prosperity and strengthen the village through the introduction of industry.

In 2005, the local government began to offer services to help create platforms for companies to gather resources to develop a mahogany furniture industry.

In 2009, the Huayuan Group began to create a market platform for the industry, which integrated raw materials, production, furniture design, logistics, sales, cultural festivals and other services.

Huayuan's success lies in making the best use of the market, said Hou Yunchun, former deputy director of the Development Research Center of the State Council.

As of the end of last year, the village was home to 2,950 private businesses, including 1,871 engaged in the mahogany industry.

"Huayuan has grasped the development opportunities presented by each period, and taken action. It can be regarded as the model of working with the times," said Shen Chi, former deputy director of the NDRC's China Center for Urban Development.

Multiple industrial projects have been introduced to the village, injecting fresh momentum into the local economy and helping it take on a new look.

To achieve stable development, the Huayuan Group pays close attention to emerging sectors like biomedicine, new energy, new materials and new building materials, as well as to services related to culture, tourism, education and medicine.

"Huayuan's experience not only proves that it is possible to turn a poor village into a rich one, it also creates a development path for rural vitalization that uses industry as its premise and simultaneously focuses on infrastructure and public services," said Yun Wenju, director of the Engineering Technology Innovation Center at the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Since Zhejiang province was designated a demonstration zone for achieving common prosperity two years ago, communities across the province have adopted measures in pursuit of special industries, with the aim of narrowing the rural-urban gap.