Economic Watch: Innovation leads China's flashlight production to broader prospects

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NINGBO, April 12 (Xinhua) -- How could nearly 1,000 flashlight producers clustering in one township survive without overcapacity concerns? The answer is continuous innovation to embrace new market opportunities.

Entrepreneurs in Xidian Township in Ningbo City, east China's Zhejiang Province, are constantly racking their brains to look for new functions to enhance their flashlight products in addition to lighting.

Embedded with a small solar panel, the flashlight can charge power for mobile phones in case of need. Installed with a mosquito repellent device, the flashlight can help expel the annoyance of mosquitoes during camping. And in case of an emergency, the flashlight can send out SOS message with "one click of the help" button.

Xidian is one of the country's largest flashlight production bases, where more than 900 flashlight producers realize an annual output value of 8 billion yuan (about 1.1 billion U.S. dollars).

The exports of mobile lighting products from the township have occupied nearly 60 percent of the global market share.

Ying Huating, deputy Party chief of Xidian Township, said that flashlight makers in the town learned a hard lesson in the 1990s from mass production of cheap products.

He said nowadays, flashlight manufacturers compete on innovation and technology, vying for the global high-end markets of flashlights and mobile lighting products.

Feng Yangjian, director of product development in Ninghai Yisen Daily Use Co., Ltd., said his company is the holder of more than 100 patents with some 150 types of its high-end flashlight products.

"In the basic function of lighting, we have also kept pursuing 'perfection,'" said Feng, adding the company's new product can illuminate a distance of more than 5,700 meters.

Ying said the township government is committed to supporting the transformation of new sci-tech achievements to production, and creating sound conditions for the high-quality development of manufacturing industries like flashlight production. Enditem

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