GUANGZHOU, July 30 (Xinhua) -- How powerful can a town be?
One out of every six mobile phones in the world is made here, where two brands are ranked among the world's top five in terms of mobile shipment.
Chang'an Town, with an area of less than 100 square kilometers, has seen its gross domestic product exceed 60 billion yuan (about 8.71 billion U.S. dollars).
Located at the Pearl River Delta, Chang'an is a town administered by the city of Dongguan, south China's Guangdong Province. It has been on the frontier of electronic information development as China's reform and opening up goes deeper.
A worker examines a mobile phone part through a magnifying glass at the workshop of Chitwing Technology in Chang'an Town of Dongguan, south China's Guangdong Province, July 16, 2019. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)
For years, it has been a major foreign trade player. Despite increasing uncertainties in the global market, Chang'an still registered about 19 percent growth in foreign trade in the first half of this year.
OPPO and Vivo, two Chinese mobile smartphone brands, were born in Chang'an in 2004 and 2009, respectively, marking the beginning of the rise of the twin stars.
According to the data of the international research firm IDC, OPPO and Vivo are co-ranked the fifth in terms of mobile shipment and the two brands hold 15 percent of the global market share.
In the Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Workshop of OPPO, there is only one worker on a production line.
"The intelligent factory makes us more efficient. With 10 million units produced per month, every link has to race against the clock," said a factory worker who asked to stay anonymous.
The prosperity of the twin stars has also driven the development of other enterprises in the town.
A worker makes mobile phone frame parts at a workshop of Huamao Electronics Group in Chang'an Town of Dongguan, south China's Guangdong Province, July 16, 2019. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)
Huamao Electronics Group, which started as a hardware gadget maker, has grown into a manufacturer producing 6 million middle frame parts for cellphones every month, with its revenue expected to hit 2.7 billion yuan this year.
"We are extending and expanding our industrial chain, pursuing diverse development in areas such as intelligent wear, medical devices and auto parts," said Quan Fei, supplies supervisor with the group.
Chang'an is now home to more than 1,000 enterprises related to smartphone manufacturing, with more than 200,000 workers.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
With nearly 20,000 patent applications and 10,000 patents granted every year, Chang'an has transformed into an innovation base of intelligent manufacturing.
In the first half of this year, Chang'an achieved a year-on-year growth of more than 10 percent in high-tech manufacturing output.
Photo taken on July 16, 2019 shows a workshop producing mobile phone frame parts at Huamao Electronics Group in Chang'an Town of Dongguan, south China's Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)
"Commodities we exported in the past were toys, desktop computers, printers and calculators, but now they are replaced by mobile phones and other high-end components. More than 90 percent of the imports and exports involve smart terminals," said Dai Haoping, deputy head of Chang'an town government.
Since 2016, OPPO has stepped up its efforts in promoting research and development (R&D), with R&D investment to reach 10 billion yuan this year.
Earlier this month, the company broke ground with its new R&D center in Chang'an.
With a total investment of 2.2 billion yuan, the center will focus on developing and testing smartphones and their accessories. It is expected to start operation in 2024.
"After the center is operational, it will take up the strategic role of leading OPPO's technological development," said Zhu Gaoling, deputy president of OPPO.
Besides Chang'an, the mobile giant has also set up R&D centers in China's Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing, Japan's Yokohama, as well as the Silicon Valley in the United States.
"Our R&D centers will be wherever the talent is," Zhu said.
In early June, China granted 5G licenses for commercial use, ushering in a new era of telecommunications industry in the country.
The whole industry is seizing new opportunities brought by the 5G network.
Undated file photo shows a mobile phone module being assembled at a factory. (Xinhua)
China Mobile, one of China's major telecom operators, has claimed its 5G services would be available in more than 40 cities by the end of September, and users can enjoy the service without changing their cards and numbers.
OPPO launched its first 5G smartphone, the Reno 5G, in the UK market in late May, in collaboration with British network operator EE.
"Supported by EE's commercial 5G network, the Reno 5G will bring to consumers an unprecedented experience in cloud games, AR and VR," said Derek Sun, global marketing director of OPPO.
Chang'an has also been at the forefront of this new technology, taking the lead in building 57 5G physical sites. Another 100 5G macro base stations will also be built in Chang'an.
So far, the 5G network has basically covered main intelligent manufacturing enterprises in the town, which provides support for R&D testing.
Photo taken on July 16, 2019 shows a workshop polishing mobile phone frame parts at Huamao Electronics Group in Chang'an Town of Dongguan, south China's Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)
"The whole industry is preparing, with 5G related new products expected to enter the development phase at the end of this year and mass production phase next year," said Quan Fei, supplies supervisor of Huamao Electronics Group. "We are welcoming another golden era."
(Xinhua writers Chu Yi, Xu Jinpeng, Ye Qian and Huang Haoyuan; Video reporters Huo Siying and Wang Pan; Video editor Liu Xiaorui.)