From Poverty to Prosperity

ByLi Wenjie August 21, 2021
Xu Fengshou communicates with workers in the factory. 


In 2019, a Fujian businessman, Xu Shangdeng, and his wife, Xu Fengshou, decided to establish a garment company in Minning Town, in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The couple were determined to take root in Minning, and to create a clothing brand, to create jobs for local women, to help them improve their lives.

Their dream came true. With an investment of 130 million yuan (US $20 million), the 3.87-hectare garment factory of Fuguilan (Ningxia) Industrial Co., Ltd. came into being within two months. Its main products — school uniforms, padded clothing and down-filled wear — are sold to retailers in Europe, South America, Russia and various other countries and regions. The factory has an annual production capacity of 500,000 suits, and an annual output value in excess of 50 million yuan (US $7.69 million).

The company has invited skilled technicians, from China's eastern provinces, to visit the factory and provide on-site training to more than 300 laborers.

Now, the factory employs more than 100 permanent workers, and those employees' monthly salaries exceed 2,000 yuan (US $307).

During the past two years, the company has employed more than 30 locals, from among registered impoverished families. As a result, the families have been lifted out of poverty, as their annual earnings have increased by more than 15,000 yuan (US $2,308).

"In addition to learning clothing-making skills, I also earn a stable income. It is very convenient to look after the elderly and kids at home, since the factory is not far from my home," says Ma Xumei, one of the company's women workers.

Last year, amid the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, business orders dropped sharply. Local authorities took measures to ensure employment and promote resumption of work, amid epidemic prevention and control efforts.

With the support of the governments in Ningxia and Fujian, the garment company received several orders for school uniforms for primary and secondary schools in Ningxia and Fujian. As a result, the company's operations have remained normal.

The company invested more than 400,000 yuan (US $61,538) to build a Half Past Four Classroom this year, and then hired tutors to teach and look after the employees' children daily after school. Fuguilan was the first private company in Ningxia to offer such a service to employees.

"As the epidemic has been gradually brought under control, our orders have been increasing. We introduced two smart-production lines last July to improve work efficiency. This year, the company plans to add four more lines, and hopes to create 200 more jobs for locals," says Xu Fengshou. "We are trying to help more people, who have been lifted out of poverty, to continue increasing their incomes. It is our way of making contributions to rural revitalization."

The private capital brought by Fujian's businesspeople has injected vitality into the poverty-alleviation work in Minning. Incomplete statistics indicate 5,700 companies in Ningxia are run by Fujian entrepreneurs, and those companies have an annual combined output value of 35 billion yuan (US $5.38 billion). The companies have made outstanding contributions to the development of various industries in Ningxia.


Photo Supplied by Fan Wenjun

 (Women of China English Monthly June 2021 issue)


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