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Cradle of titanium goes from strength to strength

Shaanxi province's Baoji tops worldwide in size of industrial cluster for all major products derived from super-strong metal

By ZHENG YIRAN in Beijing and QIN FENG in Xi'an | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-28 10:26

A view of Baoti Group's titanium and titanium alloy production line in Baoji, Shaanxi province. [Photo/China Daily]

From spacecraft and submersibles to tableware and badminton rackets, most products made from titanium and titanium alloys come from one place in China — Baoji in Shaanxi province, a city also known as the "cradle of the titanium industry".

Titanium production and processing volumes account for about 65 percent of the national and 33 percent of the global total, respectively, in this city in Northwest China.

It is also ranked first in the world in terms of the size of its titanium industrial cluster.

According to Handi Research Institute, there are around 900 titanium and titanium alloy manufacturing enterprises in China, and the top three provinces in terms of the number of such enterprises are Shaanxi, Guangdong and Jiangsu.

Driven by industrial chain leader Baoti Group, there are over 600 titanium and titanium alloy processing and trading enterprises in Baoji, producing more than 300 varieties and over 5,000 specifications of titanium products, which are widely used in aviation, aerospace, navigation, new energy, chemicals and healthcare, and exported to more than 70 countries and regions around the world.

The titanium and new materials industry cluster in Baoji has been included in the national strategic emerging industry cluster development project, and has also been selected as a national characteristic industry cluster for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The reason for the high-quality development of the titanium industry in the city can be attributed to leading enterprises, complementary advantages of SMEs, and the government's favorable policies.

As the largest titanium company in Baoji, Baoti Group has led in setting up over 110 industry standards, accounting for over 90 percent of the standards in total. The company has the most complete titanium production industrial chain, responsible for more than 8,000 national-level new material trial production tasks.

"We have built a complete industrial chain integrating sponge titanium preparation, smelting, processing, deep processing and equipment manufacturing, making China the fourth country in the world to have a complete titanium industry system," said Chen Zhanqian, deputy general manager of Baoti Group.

To further develop the titanium industry in Baoji, the city has been encouraging private enterprises to actively participate in the mixed ownership reform of State-owned enterprises, integrate advantageous resources, and expand enterprise scale.

In July 2023 alone, Baoti Precision Forging, funded by a listed company under Baoti Group and a private enterprise, completed a titanium forging processing volume of 2,384 metric tons, achieving a processing output value of 19.42 million yuan ($2.69 million), setting a record.

Titanium is an important structural metal with abundant reserves in the earth's crust. It has excellent properties, high specific strength, low density, excellent biocompatibility, and is corrosion resistant. It is known as a "strategic metal", "third metal", and "marine metal", and is a highly promising structural material.

Titanium alloy has high strength, good corrosion resistance and high heat resistance, and is widely used in the aerospace, automotive, nuclear, chemical and petrochemical industries, as well as in dentistry and medical restoration.

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