Many hands make light work in glove firm

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS INSIGHT -

in­clud­ing Ki­need and Sun­tex.

“If you want to earn more, you have to de­velop high val­ueadded prod­ucts,” Man says.

He has reg­is­tered the trade­mark Jin­ing Glove Texx One with the EU Of­fice of Har­mo­niza­tion for the In­ter­nal Mar­ket and the wa­ter­proof­ing trade­mark NexTex in China.

Now half of the 1.2 mil­lion gloves Man’s com­pany makes that are sold over­seas bear the la­bel NexTex in ad­di­tion to for­eign trade­marks.

It was ex­tremely ex­pen­sive build­ing a brand and look­ing for over­seas buy­ers, he says.

“I spent four years reg­is­ter­ing the trade­mark with the EU Of­fice of Har­mo­niza­tion for the In­ter­nal Mar­ket and it cost me 3,000 eu­ros. It’s hard to break into the Euro­pean and US mar­kets be­cause their stan­dards are so high. So we have taken care to ex­pand re­search and de­vel­op­ment projects.”

OEM or­ders will con­tinue to ac­count for the lion’s share of women are busy mak­ing gloves.

“I’m old, but I am able to sup­port my­self, so this makes me happy,” says Cao Yux­i­ang, 75.

Her job is to trim the thread ends, for which she can earn as much as 900 yuan a month at busy times.

“Be­fore com­ing here ( the fam­ily workshop), I had noth­ing to do but stay at home,” she says. “So it’s not bad at all.”

Cao and her work­mates are on the first floor of the workshop. The ground floor is where the owner’s fam­ily live. It is also used to store gloves.

Apart from farm­ers such as Cao who work in fam­ily work­shops in the vil­lage, some farm­ing fam­i­lies make gloves at home on a piece-work ba­sis.

Chen Jian­hua, head of the county’s glove in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion, is de­lighted with how the in­dus­try is im­prov­ing farm­ers’ lives.

“Be­fore 2008, dozens of buses would come to the county af­ter the Spring Fes­ti­val to take hun­dreds of women to work in cities in the south. It was heart­break­ing to see el­derly peo­ple and chil­dren see­ing th­ese women off, with tears in their eyes.”

By the end of last year, Ji­ax­i­ang had about 700 small work­shops lo­cated in nearly 600 vil­lages, ac­count­ing for 85 per­cent of the vil­lages in the county. Th­ese vil­lage work­shops cre­ated jobs for 50,000 farm­ers, the county gov­ern­ment says.

Wang Lixia, 26, has been work­ing at sew­ing ma­chines for eight years. She worked in a city in the south for two years be­fore re­turn­ing to her home­town and work­ing at Jin­ing Hee Ka Lee Sport Prod­ucts Co Ltd. She now heads a sec­tion in the com­pany and is paid 2,000 yuan a month.

“The com­pany is near my home, so I can have lunch at home and feed my son,” she says.

Chen says: “We are see­ing peo­ple’s life­styles chang­ing. This is en­cour­ag­ing us to bet­ter man­age the in­dus­try.”

One prob­lem that be­sets the in­dus­try is a short­age of la­bor. Some com­pa­nies say they are 10 per­cent short of the num­ber they need.

“A pair of gloves goes through more than 20 pro­ce­dures, so it is highly la­bor in­ten­sive,” says Meng Hongjian.

Wang, of the county’s of­fi­cial or­ga­ni­za­tion for small and medium-sized en­ter­prises, says so­lu­tions to solve the la­bor short­age in­clude rais­ing work­ers’ skills and up­grad­ing equip­ment.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties plan to set up train­ing pro­grams for novices in the in­dus­try over the next two years, he says.

A de­signer at work.

75-year-old Cao Yux­i­ang trims thread ends from gloves.

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