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Minhou: Making Small Crafts into a Big Industry
As the first established town in the territory of Fujian in history, Minhou boasts rich cultural heritage; while in recent years, Minhou has been a highlight among all counties in the economic development of Fujian Province. It is the only county that remained among the top 10 counties with the strongest economic power and the best economic development achievements for three consecutive years. Besides the motor vehicle industry represented by Soueast Motor and Fujian Benz, which plays the leading role, the emerging cultural industry is an important supporting force. In 2012, the cultural industry in Minhou County achieved a total value-added of 3.4 billion yuan, which is 10% of the county’s GDP and almost twice the provincial average. The two leading categories of products that drove Minhou’s cultural industry onto the track of fast growth are handicrafts made of iron, wood, bamboo and rattan, and Shangjie root carving. The former sees high-ranking export volume in the province and even in China, while the latter enjoys an 80% share in the domestic market, making Shangjie one of the most influential bases for the production and sales of root carving products in China.
Driving up north from Qingkou along the No. 316 national highway, you will pass towns such as Nanyu, Shangjie, Zhuqi, and Hongwei. While seeing motor vehicle manufacturers such as Soueast, Fujian Benz, and United Power, you will also find a lot of root carving factories and handicrafts factories.
Drawing upon its rich cultural heritage, Minhou’s effort to make small crafts into a big industry has paid off. In 2012, the cultural industry in Minhou achieved a total value-added of 3.4 billion yuan, which is 10% of the county’s GDP and almost twice the provincial average. This shows that the cultural industry has risen into a pillar industry and a new growing point for the county’s economy.
How was the pillar erected and what role will it play? Let’s have a look into the representatives of the industry, the iron and wood handicrafts and Shangjie root carving.
Iron and Wood
Handicrafts:Enhance the Competitiveness with Innovations
abounds in the mountainous areas of Minhou, and towns like Hongwei, Zhuqi and
Baisha has always had the tradition of bamboo weaving. However, except for the
Minhou County Handicrafts Factory set up in the 1970s, all handicrafts makers
in the area were mostly household workshops, and the business was far less than
change occurred in the 1990s. In 1990, Fujian Minxing Weaving Co., Ltd. was
established, aiming mainly at foreign trade, and a series of similar
handicrafts companies mushroomed soon. In 1998, the handicrafts industry
achieved 1.12 billion yuan of export value, more than 85% of the total export
value of the county.
the new century,
aimed at foreign trade, handicrafts enterprises in Minhou are frequent
participants of the Canton Fair and once led the rank by the number of deals
made among participants from
only way out is innovation. “These enterprises have long been targeting foreign
markets, and it is unrealistic for them to give it up altogether and shift to
the domestic market.” said Hong Minjie, Secretary General of Minhou Handicrafts
Guild. Innovation lies in creative ideas, designs, packaging, etc. The
Christmas decorations exported earlier were mostly low-profile items, leaving
the enterprises with limited opportunities to bargain. Later, some enterprises
began to add highlight vanishes and shining bits in the paint and equip the
products with music and lights. Such new products were warmly welcomed by the
market even if the price was twice that of the old ones.
Star & Moon Home-Decor Co., Ltd. in
Dingfeng, Chief of the General Office of Fuzhou Minquan Arts & Crafts Co.,
Coming out of a staggering period, the
handicrafts industry in Minhou regained its steady development pace gradually,
and a new momentum has recently showed up. In 2012, the iron and wood
handicrafts industry saw a total output of 5.374 billion yuan, up 27.1% over
the previous year; and the output of the first four months this year registered
2.081 billion, an increase of 13.6% over the same period of last year. Four
enterprises including Minxing and Minquan found their way into the 2012-13 list
of key export cultural enterprises of