A tour of happenings in a city with a strong elevator-industry presence
ELEVATOR WORLD paid a visit to Suzhou, China, in March to witness the fresh changes in the famous city familiar to the international elevator industry. Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) has a total area of 288 km2, 80 km2 of which was planned as the 1994 China-Singapore Collaboration Area for a period of 30 years, with a view to build SIP into one of the most high-tech industrial bases in the world. Today, not only have the goals been achieved, the successful development and management of SIP over the past 19 years have set a good example for other economy-booming regions across China, in terms of both economy and ecology development. Furthermore, it now serves as a residence-friendly urban environment. A number of well-known elevator-industry members, such as SJEC, Sematic Suzhou and Genesis Door Systems, are headquartered in SIP.
When entering SIP from the downtown districts enclosed by the ring motorways of Suzhou, the nearly complete Gate of the Orient catches the eye. The 69-story high-rise complex overlooks Jinji Lake from the west at a height of 301.8 m. The building consists of two towers in line north and south, linked by an arch at a height of 238 m. The buildings will be used for hotel rooms, apartments, offices, supermalls, etc. The elements of traditional Suzhou gardens have been integrated into the architecture. Looking directly from the south or north, only one tower is visible, while from the east or west, the towers take the shape of a giant arch, though some say it looks like a pair of pants. The project took an investment of CNY4.5 billion (US$729 million).
Two planned subway lines (Lines 1 and 6) will have an interchange station beneath the towers. Line 1 was opened to the public in April 2012. It has 24 stations and a rail length of roughly 25.7 km going east and west to connect downtown Suzhou and SIP. It enabled Suzhou to become the first regional city in China to have an urban railway system. More than five lines are planned to form the Suzhou Railway Transit (SRT) network, to be completed one by one between 2013 and 2019.
High-rise residential buildings keep going up in Suzhou and its surrounding area, taking advantage of its well-developed elevator industry. Wujiang, some 20 km south of downtown Suzhou, is a twin city to Suzhou, featuring a concentration of such major elevator enterprises as Canny Elevators, Shenglong Elevators, Wittur Suzhou and Dongnan Elevator. One can travel by car between Wujiang and Shanghai to the east, Nanxun to the west and Suzhou to the north in approximately 1 hr. SRT Line 4 will link Wujiang District to downtown Suzhou, too. All these in the Yangtze River Delta are regarded as the biggest elevator industry base in China.
The third Suzhou Elexpo was held together with the 10th Suzhou International Industry Expo on March 7-10 with roughly 60 exhibitors, featuring a small-scale local show in our industry. Your author was pleased to meet old and new friends at the event. EW has received an increasing number of papers from Chinese professionals, such as inspector and engineer Yihui Ruan, who commented on this satisfaction with EW’s editorial services. With the steady market demand in China, the trend to increase manufacturing capacities is on the rise, with more and more new factories and higher and higher testing towers. As a result of the capacity-expanding trend, modern and quality elevators and escalators created here are bound to contribute to the global market, as well as meet the needs of the Chinese market.