More to industrial zone that meets the eye

Yang Yang
Xinzhuang Industrial Zone, one of Minhang's 14 towns, subdistricts and industrial zones, is achieving both economic growth and creating an appealing environment.
Yang Yang

The Celebrated and Embraced

Editor's note:

Alice Walker, the African American writer, wrote her famous "Everyday Use" (1973) by threading the plot on a patchwork quilt. In Minhang District, crochet artists had made a "patchwork" map shaping the geography of the district through crocheting each of its 14 towns, subdistricts and industrial zone with a different color and pattern then networking them. The map is dazzlingly beautiful and suggests good connections. In this column on community and home, we introduce stories of people collected from the 14 towns, subdistricts and industrial zone in Minhang, and hope residents there and readers likewise will cherish their homes.

More to industrial zone that meets the eye
Ti Gong

Shanghai Xinzhuang Industrial Park

A mottled assemblage of dark yellow, burnt umber and sienna dawn redwoods, with a blurred reflection in water, form the hallmark of the autumnal and winter scenery of the Guanghua Road West Lake, which in summer, is noted for its bashful lotus blossoms.

The lake is a leisurely place for walking around, which has reeds weeping in the wind at the lakeside and cranes crying in the distance. In the clearing of its bank there is a sculpture in the shape of a string of industrial gears, just reminding us of its location, the Shanghai Xinzhuang Industrial Park.

Expat 'river chief'

Peter Garimort, general manager of Engel China, which has based its Engel Machinery (Shanghai) Co in SHXIP, is an expat "river chief" taking care of the lake, as well as the Dianpu River, a mother river of Minhang District.

People have volunteered to be "river chiefs," to protect environment of the city's lakes and rivers.

Garimort, hailing from Austria and having been living in China for about 20 years, monitors the water quality of the West Lake.

He recommended inviting children as promoters of river protection so that an awareness of it would be raised in the entire household, as in his motherland Austria.

"Since almost 20 years I am here, the environment has changed a lot," he said. "Like the surrounding of the (Dianpu) River (and the West Lake), the water quality, the greenery on left and right sides along the river. It's a real, big improvement. And it provides a nice environment even for recreational activities."

The Engel Machinery (Shanghai) where Garimort works was founded in SHXIP in 2005. A world-leading company of manufacturing plastic injection machine, Engel Group has achieved its annual global production and sales volume at more than 100 billion yuan (US$13.8 billion), to which its business in China has made a great contribution.

A fertile land to support this, SHXIP has created a historic high record in its annual performance in 2023, with its annual above-designated size industrial output value achieving 101.94 billion yuan and its annual product sales volume reaching 109.35 billion yuan.

Its foreign capital used in 2023 was US$381.1 million, up 191 percent year on year, the highest among industrial parks in Minhang.

Notably, in the industrial park in 2023, a plot of land in stock for more than 20 years was reinvigorated by a global pharmaceutical giant project, in a span of three months, thanks to its young members of investment attraction team.

The industrial park boasts high-end scientific achievements.

Its air taxi company TCab Tech is riding the low-altitude economy wave through developing an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. In the near future people will be able to fly from Shanghai to neighboring Suzhou in less than 20 minutes with eVTOLs.

People working and living in SHXIP maintain it as an elegant neighborhood.

Along its Chunxi Road, the orange jasmine were in full bloom in late April. The cascade of yellowish flowers turned into a popular site, attracting people to take photos and post them on social media.

Living in an elegant neighborhood

Not far away from the spectacle of the flowers lies the Deqiu Lixianggu cultural park, a cultural landmark in the industrial zone which delights people with its peaceful castle and themed gardens.

The cultural park is best known for its 10 art gardens and behind each there are some metaphysical concepts worth exploring.

"One of them is the 'Pride Garden,'" Zhao Zhiqian, general manager of Deqiu Lixianggu, explained.

"The concept of the garden derived from Austin's literary classic 'Pride and Prejudice.' In the garden you'll see a stone, in spite of being encircled by a chain, struggles toward the sky. The chain of gravity can be interpreted as obstacles or prejudices against you, when you, a flying stone, is still proudly pursuing toward the direction of your dream."

Deqiu Lixianggu was constructed in 2002, whereas the SHXIP was founded in 1995.

"Our public cultural and art community has covered an area of more than 100,000 square meters," Zhao said. "In its beginning we promoted the traditional Chinese art, as you can notice in its design of landscape there are traditional Chinese art elements such as blank white space, depth of focus and skyline."

The cultural park is adapting, just like SHXIP is improving throughout the years.

The art styles of the park are more diversified now, to include those catering to young people. So are the industrial sectors of SHXIP. It had only traditional sectors such as chemical and automobile manufacturing in the beginning, and now it includes new sectors such as medical devices and artificial intelligence.

"High-end industrial and manufacturing sectors also need fertile soil of culture to nurture itself," said Zhao. "So we hope Deqiu Lixianggu will not only be a leisurely cultural space for people to take a walk and a deep spiritual dive into, it can also create sparks between industrial chains and culture and art sectors."

The community holds artists and entrepreneurs' salons, which result in new ideas and cooperation.

For example a technician and entrepreneur in the industrial park is planning to tailor-make Tesla precision electronic coils for artists who are doing some electronic art installations. On the other hand, some aesthetic and philosophical ideas can also offer insights for entrepreneurs in their start-up projects or management.

Starting from 2023, the cultural park organizes its annual Deqiu Shanghai International Illustration Art Festival from late April to July.

This year the festival has planned 16 exhibitions and an art fair with 200 booths and thousands of illustrators participating in.

"This year there was a 14-year-old young illustrator. She was a junior high school student who likes fine art. Her parents respect her hobby but wasn't sure whether she was able to make a living out of it. So they tried to launch a booth, applied for an entry in the last minute for the art fair from April 19 to 21. The teen's innovative illustrations, postcards and artifacts sold well. We don't know whether she will be an artist in the future, but this experience should really be cherished," said Zhao.

The cultural park is aiming for a complete industrial chain that includes art fair, exhibitions, contests and seminars, among others.

Artists launched a poet's studio inside the park to pay tribute to Jean Paul Sartre.

"Some of our art works deserve a place in a top gallery, for the sake of preservation, Zhao said. "But some art works are created for the benefit of the general public. More than 100 art works are scattered in our Deqiu park. They turned moss-covered after enduring years of rains from the plum rain season. And who can tell the current works look really better than the original."

Residents are also benefiting from living in the region.

The industrial park was selected as model town/subdistrict in Shanghai for launching seniors' sports events and improving devices. In particular, its female volleyball team, with members at an average age of 52, won top in the community category of the 14th National Games.

About Xinzhuang Industrial Park

A pioneering site for the advanced manufacturing sector, the industrial park has attracted more than 1,600 entity enterprises over the past three decades, with both its gross value of large-scale industrial output and its gross merchandise value achieving hundreds of billions of yuan annually for three consecutive years.

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