Dragon boat orders boom amid festivities
Published: Jun 10, 2024 10:27 PM
 The Hangzhou Xixi Wetland hosts the 2024 International Dragon Boat Cultural Festival on June 10, 2024, the day of the Dragon Boat Festival. Photo: IC

The Hangzhou Xixi Wetland hosts the 2024 International Dragon Boat Cultural Festival on June 10, 2024, the day of the Dragon Boat Festival. Photo: IC

As the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holidays, also known as the Duanwu Festival, were celebrated from Saturday to Monday, domestic producers of the dragon boats, the iconic item of the festival, witnessed their robust time of the year, as the festival is often associated with competitive and inclusive dragon boat races.

Producers of the dragon boats across the country ramped up deliveries for the domestic and overseas markets, the Global Times learned from industry insiders and media reports.

"Our orders have been doing quite well this year… so far we have delivered about 60 dragon boats, maintaining the strong momentum of sales from last year," Li Guangding, president of a racing boat factory based in Shangrao, East China's Jiangxi Province, told the Global Times on Monday.

Last year, there was a jump on orders from almost zero due to pent-up demand after the COVID-19 pandemic, and demand retained its recovery trend this year, Li said.

The price of a traditional wooden dragon boat ranges from more than 10,000 yuan ($1379.73) to more than 60,000 yuan, depending on the size of the boat, the Global Times learned.

Demand was so strong that some producers had orders coming in even as the festival ended on Monday.

Fang Jianwei, the fourth-generation inheritor of Fangzhuang Dragon Boat, a producer in Fuzhou, East China's Fujian Province, told reporters that due to the robust orders, nowadays his working time starts at about 5 in the morning, and sometimes he works overnight, Fujian Daily reported on Monday.

One month before the Dragon Boat Festival, the company had received orders for nearly 60 boats, up 10 percent year-on-year, according to the report.

Despite the incessant "rush order" calls from customers, as each dragon boat is customer-made, it takes at least five days to complete one. With the company's growing reputation this year, more than 200 dragon boats had been sold so far to various parts of China, as well as to overseas markets such as the US, Japan and Singapore, the report said.

In recent years, there have been more dragon boat racing events across the country, and there have been more and more orders, as the rest of the world is also celebrating the Chinese traditional festival.

During this year's festival, racing activities were held from Salford, Greater Manchester, in the UK to Xochimilco, a water town in Mexico and Victoria Harbor in Cape Town, South Africa, according to media reports.

As the festival has garnered increasing global attention, the symbolic dragon boat has naturally gained more popularity. Chinese-made dragon boats, renowned for their time-honored craftsmanship, have gained a solid foothold.

Li told the Global Times that as an intangible cultural heritage, many dragon boats are manufactured in family workshops and the craftsmanship is passed down. In the production process, there is knowledge everywhere.

Dragon boat production has high requirements when it comes to wood. Different types of wood are selected for different parts of the dragon boat, Li said. The keel is equivalent to the "spine" of the dragon boat, and it should be made of large, dry and vertical fir wood. Li is passing on his knowledge in boat production to his son.

A dragon boat-related industry has been formed in some parts of the country. For example, in Miluo, Central China's Hunan Province, there are 22 dragon boat factories, with an average area of more than 2,000 square meters. Among them, two have obtained national-level qualifications for dragon boat production, according to a report by

Miluo is where famous Chinese poet Qu Yuan, a minister of the State of Chu during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), drowned himself in despair after he was accused of treason and banished for offering well-intended advice to the king. The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates Qu.

The products mainly include wooden dragon boats, fiberglass dragon boats and dragon boat handicrafts, with supporting products, training, organizing competitions and other related industries, with a total output of about 250 million yuan, the report said.

There are more than 970 dragon boat-related companies in China, according to Tianyancha, a data provider. From January to April, more than 10 related companies were newly registered, an increase of 42.9 percent year-on-year.