Christmas factory

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-12-9 19:48:02

A worker surnamed Wei stands behind red Christmas snowflakes in a factory in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province. Photo: Chen Ronghui

The sparkling Christmas snowflakes hung in the Macy's in New York City and in millions of homes around the world get their start in Yiwu, East China's Zhejiang Province.

While it's no news that factories in Yiwu produce 60 percent of the world's Christmas decorations, the Wei family, working in one of the factories, have no idea what the bubble stars and stockings will be used for. Nor does the elder Wei know about the culture of Christmas. "Is it like [Chinese] New Year for foreigners?" he asks.

From a village in Guizhou Province, both Wui and his son work 10 hours a day. To make decorative stars, they first dip stars cut out from white plastic into glue for three seconds, then spray red powder onto them while the stars are spun in a machine. After 10 seconds, the stars, newly covered in a bright red layer, are pulled out, then dried and packed.

Wei and his son each make about 3,000 yuan ($483) per month, shy of their desired salary of 4,000 yuan. Due to sharp temperature differences between the drying room and the spraying room, the elder Wei caught a cold. Afterwards he insisted his son stay away from the heat in the drying room.

Most overseas orders were delivered by the end of September. More recent orders are for domestic customers.

Thanks to increasing domestic demand, factories in Yiwu are not doing too badly this year, despite a slump in markets overseas. According to the Christmas Market Association of Yiwu, foreign demand has shrunk from 80 percent of all orders to 60 percent, while demand from northern Chinese cities has been increasing.

On December 25, the factories will cease production. The Wei's plan to go back to their hometown in Guizhou with no plans to return to this Christmas factory next year.

Global Times

The elder Wei brushes off the red dust covering him. Photo: Chen Ronghui

A worker sprays colorful powder onto decorative Christmas balls. Photo: Chen Ronghui

The younger Wei sits among snowflakes. Photo: Chen Ronghui

A shopkeeper naps in her store among various Christmas decorations. Photo: Chen Ronghui

A shopkeeper carries a Santa decoration as a man looks on in a wholesale market in Yiwu. Photo: Chen Ronghui




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