Coal worker with handful of coal. Photo: VCG
Shanxi, China's major coal-producing province, is trying to develop emerging industries such as mobile phone manufacturing to reduce its reliance on coal and transform its economy.
Mobile phones have become the province's top export product, with an export volume of 38 billion yuan (around 5.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2016, accounting for 58 percent of total exports, according to the provincial department of commerce.
In the first three quarters of 2017, Shanxi exported more than 16 million mobile phones and the export volume exceeded 27 billion yuan, the department said.
"The province has developed an industrial chain involving mobile phone manufacturing, sales, recycling and repairs," said Li Guorong, head of foreign trade bureau with the department.
With a quarter of China's proven coal reserves, Shanxi has shut down lots of coal mines and reduced production capacity amid the country's efforts to cut excess capacity and improve efficiency in coal industry.
The local government began focusing on innovative and export-oriented companies developing strategic emerging industries, such as information technology, biological medicine and advanced equipment manufacturing.
"When the coal industry has lower impact on Shanxi's economy, we can say our economic transformation and upgrading efforts have been successful," Li said.