During a recent interview, the commander of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, Zhang Qingli, told the reporter a story: “Once, while I was attending a meeting of an inland listed company on behalf of the Corps; a local leader asked me in big surprise, ‘Isn’t the Corps making a living by farming? Do you really have any listed companies?’ In reality, there are still many people who have similar misconceptions about the Corps. In fact, after generations of efforts, the Corps has not only realized the modernization of agriculture; but also has established modern industry and business. So far, we have 11 listed companies.”
“The degree of industrialization indicates the strength of a country,” Zhang said. “It is the only way to promote the development and growth of the Corps; and improve the living standards of our farm workers. Therefore, for the Corps, this is a long-term goal.”
Zhang emphasized that industrialization must be promoted in accordance with the actual situation of the Corps. The Corps must integrate industrialization with agricultural modernization and commercialization. Only by relying on agriculture can the Corps fully play to its advantages.
A new type of industrialization involves layout, structure and programs, mechanism and the mode of growth. In these respects, the 16th National Party Congress and the Third Plenum of the 16th Central Committee of the CPC gave the direction for future development. The Corps will continue to “strengthen textiles; improve food products; expand construction materials; promote the mining and chemical industries; and vigorously develop agricultural technology facilities and water conservation equipment.” Meanwhile, the Corps will give priority to the development of industrial sectors with comparative advantages; and focus on establishing a number of leading enterprises and brands, so as to enhance the overall competitiveness of the entire industry. Cotton is the leading product of the Corps. In the past, the Corps mainly sold raw materials. This year it will fully upgrade its textile industry and enlarge the production scale with one million spindles. At the same time, it will support a number of large enterprises and groups with prominent industrial advantages and a strong competitive workforce. This move will play a leading role in the economic development of the region.
Zhang added that 11 listed companies are far from enough for the Corps. “We need to establish more leading enterprises. This year the Corps enters a very good development period: the GNP of the Corps per capita exceeded 10,000 yuan in 2003; and the construction of 38 small towns was successful…We must seize this rare opportunity to establish a group of industrial projects immediately.”