Sunday, March 16, 2014

Inside a Small Factory on an Island in Yangjiang

As I explored Yangjiang, in places much smaller than the factories sometimes featured on the news I was reminded of Guangdong's role as a manufacturer for many of China's and the world's goods. For example, on the southern side of an island in the Moyang River I came across a nondescript building where I could here machines clacking. I can't provide specific directions to the location, because all online maps I've seen lack any details for the area.

I saw a man curiously looking at me, and I said hello. After doing my best to explain how a foreigner had found his way there, I inquired about the machines. He said he was the owner and welcomed me to take a closer look.

man standing in front of an open entrance to a one-floored building

I first entered a living room area.

living area with chairs, couches, TV, stereo system, etc.

And I passed through another set of doors with a white sign marking the area for workers only.

entrance with a "do not enter" sign in Chinese

I then entered a much larger room including everything from bunk beds to machinery.

large room with bunk beds, machinery, and other items

The machines were noisily at work, apparently not requiring constant supervision.

knife-handle pin making machinery

knife-handle pin making machinery

The owner showed me their output: pins.

hands holding two pins together

Yangjiang is known for knifes, and the pins are for knife handles.

a Yangjiang knife with pins in its handle

After my tour, I met the man's wife and two sons.

And young man standing with a boy and a woman watching in the background.

My visit complete, as he escorted me to a bridge off the island I explained I hoped to share online the photos I took. The idea excited him, and he spoke about his desire for more people to know about Yangjiang and visit. After our conversation, he bade me farewell and hopped on a motorbike taxi.

As I reflected on what I had seen, I walked along the riverside and drank the parting "gift" he insisted I take--a tall can of Qingdao Pure Draft Beer.

Tall can of Tsingtao Draft beer with the Moyang River in the background

My visit to a place much more than just a small pin factory was an opportunity to meet a friendly family, see another side of Yangjiang, and learn more about broader issues of interest to me, such as working / living conditions and technology usage. It's just a single example, but there's much to consider in the above photos and some aspects remind me of what I've seen elsewhere in China. I'll have more to say related to these topics in later posts.

But first I'll soon share an example of someone in Yangjiang who sells something very different from pins and knives.

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