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Nice place to keep warm

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-05 07:45

 

 

Puyuan town in Zhejiang province's Tongxiang city is bustling with people involved in woolen business. [Photo by Gao Erqang/China Daily]

Individual stores or plazas are filled with shops selling woolen clothing, everywhere you go in Puyuan in Zhejiang province. Yang Feiyue reports.

A town that does not have big sheep-raising tradition or wool trade has managed to grow into the nation's biggest wool clothing production site.

Everywhere you go in Puyuan in Zhejiang province's Tongxiang city, individual stores or plazas filled with shops selling woolen clothing and other textile products are in evidence.

Approximately 6,000 wool clothing producers have settled in the 64-square-kilometer town, and they supply up to 70 percent of all the woolen clothing in the country, says Qian Juanting, a senior official with the Puyuan government.

Puyuan's wool industry began to take shape in 1976 when a local cooperative bought three manual flat knitting machines.

Locals found making wool clothing lucrative in the early 1980s, and family workshops soon sprung up.

Then, people began to set up shop on the streets and peddle their products, which served as a prototype for today's big-scale wool products market.

The number of wool clothing companies was 373 in 1988, and that of individual business was 259.

They could produce 2.7 million pieces of clothing annually, which has made Puyuan the home of China's wool clothing production.

Chen Jiangen from Yonglian village in Puyuan was one of the first that joined the army of wool clothing dealers back then.

He left his village home and came to Puyuan's downtown area to look for opportunities that year.

He soon settled into the wool clothing business.

"People around me were either producing the wool clothing or selling it," he says.

Chen then began to learn to make the wool clothing.

"My aunt and her husband both worked at a local wool clothing plant, and they had an idle weaving machine at home. So, I began to try my hand," says Chen.

"I learned from an experienced worker who worked with my aunt, and took apart clothes that failed to meet standards and remade them from scratch," he says.

Chen then bought his first box of yarn with a loan of 3,000 yuan ($454) and managed to make 50 pieces of clothing.

He would visit hotels and sell his products to guests, most of whom were textile buyers from northeastern China on their way to Shanghai.

Chen sold his first batch of clothes in a week and raked in a 300 yuan profit. That was several times the amount one could make in an entire month.

Chen was then motivated to invest more in his business.

He rented three two-story houses for clothing production in 1992. This was when locals began to turn their houses facing the street into shops.

The next year, he bought his first shop with 3,000 yuan. The shop still exists today.

Chen did not look back, and his business has expanded over the years.

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