China’s quest for greater domestic innovation results in great technological leaps – as well as small ones. Like the ballpoint pen. Chinese steelmaker Taiyuan Iron and Steel Co., formally announced that it had developed technology to manufacture the stainless steel tip cases found at the end of high-quality ballpoint pens.
Quartz reports that China produces 40 billion ballpoint pens annually, but many of them work poorly. The special stainless steel that is needed to make higher-quality tips for ballpoint pens had to be imported from Japan and Germany. Over the years, Chinese pen makers have been importing more than 1,000 tons of the needed steel annually.
Now, the Chinese can make these tips themselves. A $8.6 million research program succeeded: a set of 2.3-mm-tipped pens with the superior tip cases passed the ultimate test, the ability to write for 800 meters without interruption. It is not clear when the resulting pens will officially hit the market.
Quartz reports that the news of Taigang’s pen-tip innovation was met with enthusiasm on China’s internet. An article about this subject on People’s Daily has attracted over 10,000 comments and 20,000 shares on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like app.
Further reading on qz.com