Greening the desert

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This composite photo shows Kubuqi Desert in the past and the present, spanning 20 years. (Photo provided to

Entrepreneur turns sand into gold

A company has spent the past 27 years in combating desertification in the Kubuqi Desert, with the tenet of perseverance rather than seeking quick success, and has turned more than 6,000 square kilometers of the desert into green lands.

Elion Resources Group, based in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, is known for its unique business model in land remediation and ecological rehabilitation.

Elion has rapidly transformed from a traditional desertification control company into an ecologically sound business featuring “Green land, green energy, green finance plus Internet” to promote the land, air and environmental restoration since 2011.

In an interview with China Daily Website, Elion’s Founder and Chairman Wang Wenbiao said that what Elion has achieved is to make ecological protection financially viable.

He explained that Elion has been pursuing a sustainable green development path – hoping to bring public benefits even as it seeks to business profits.

The company’s star project is located in the Kubuqi Desert, China’s seventh biggest desert, where the company cultivated Traditional Chinese Medicine plants and built a solar energy center.

The selected plants thrive in the tough environment and can be sold for a large profit. Meanwhile, these plants can slow down the process of desertification and gradually transform the desert areas into arable lands.


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Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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