Com­pany seeks to craft sil­ver into cul­ture mar­ket

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By SUN RUISHENG in Taiyuan

sun­ruisheng@chi­nadaily.com.cn

When peo­ple think of Shanxi they usu­ally think of coal, but while that might have been true in the past, in re­cent years some com­pa­nies have been ex­plor­ing other busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Shanxi Da­tong Jinyin Min­ing Co, a sub­sidiary of Shanxi Coal Trans­porta­tion and Sales Co, is one of them.

Lo­cated in Lingqiu county, Shanxi prov­ince, the com­pany spe­cial­izes in min­ing and pro­cess­ing sil­ver in­stead of the tra­di­tional coal.

The com­pany is echo­ing the call of the Chi­nese cen­tral gov­ern­ment, which sug­gested that the coun­try should re­duce its de­pen­dence on the coal in­dus­try, an em­ployee said.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany, it is the largest State- owned in­dus­try of its kind in Da­tong, pro­duc­ing 100 tons of sil­ver a year.

The com­pany is now es­tab­lish­ing a strat­egy that fo­cuses on in­no­va­tion and pro­mot­ing Chi­nese cul­ture.

“We are ded­i­cated to in­te­grat­ing cul­tural el­e­ments of Shanxi prov­ince and the Chi­nese his­tory into our prod­ucts, which makes our prod­ucts three times more ex­pen­sive than plain sil­ver goods,” Tian Jun, a di­rec­tor on board and sec­re­tary of the Party com­mit­tee said.

The prod­ucts the com­pany pro­duces in­clude sil­ver stat­ues of Chair­man Mao, the 12 Chi­nese zo­diac an­i­mals, and Bud­dhist icons.

But mak­ing sil­ver prod­ucts is quite com­pli­cated. There are five steps in­volved in mak­ing the prod­ucts, which in­cludes carv­ing molds and the elec­trolytic process.

In ad­di­tion, there is a spe­cial­ized qual­ity check depart­ment in the com­pany. The ap­proval rate is about 60-70 per­cent, and those prod­ucts that don’t make the grade are melted down and the sil­ver used again, Tian said.

“I hope that our Jinyin prod­ucts can be art pieces in­stead of just metal goods. This is our core com­pet­i­tive­ness,” he added.

Tian said that the weight of a sil­ver piece is an im­por­tant in­di­ca­tor of its price. Nor­mally speak­ing, the heav­ier a sil­ver prod­uct is, the more ex­pen­sive it is. For ex­am­ple, a sil­ver brick carved with a Chi­nese zo­diac is around 10,000 yuan ($1,667).

How­ever, the theme is another im­por­tant fac­tor. The sil­ver ver­sion of “Eight Fine Horses”— a paint­ing com­posed by the renowned Chi­nese painter Xu Bei­hong (1895-1953) costs more than 100,000 yuan.

Other themes for the com­pany’s prod­ucts in­clude plum blos­som, or­chids, bam­boo and chrysan­the­mum, which have sym­bolic mean­ings in tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­ture and are fre­quently used in Chi­nese paint­ings and cal­lig­ra­phy.

Jinyin stands out among its coun­ter­parts in North China, Tian said.

The com­pany’s prod­ucts are now sold in au­tho­rized shops in sev­eral north­ern Chi­nese cities and they are hop­ing to raise peo­ple’s aware­ness of their prod­ucts.

“When tak­ing about gold hand­i­craft brands, sev­eral com­pa­nies will come to peo­ple’s minds, But no sil­ver hand­i­craft brand in China has ever en­joyed the same kind of pop­u­lar­ity,” Tian said.

He said the com­pany planned to en­ter more Chi­nese cities us­ing the brand name “Jinyin” at this stage, but the name might change later.

“We are look­ing for a more suit­able name, but brand name is not an ur­gent thing. For us, qual­ity is the ut­most con­cern. When cus­tomers re­ally ac­cept the prod­ucts, they will ac­cept the brand,” Tian said.

He said the com­pany in­tends to make more prod­ucts with tra­di­tional Chi­nese el­e­ments.

“More and more Chi­nese peo­ple feel un­sat­is­fied with just spend­ing on daily goods, they have started to ap­pre­ci­ate art. The ex­quis­ite sil­ver art crafts with cul­tural el­e­ments have a large po­ten­tial mar­ket, ” he said. For more en­quiries, please con­tact Sales Man­ager Bai Jib­ing. Phone: 18636261717. Fax: 0352- 8601362. QQ: 422739892. Com­pany web­site: http:// www. dtzygs. com

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

The nearby cul­tural at­trac­tions, such as the Yun­gang Grot­toes, an an­cient Chi­nese Bud­dhist tem­ple lo­cated in Shanxi prov­ince, of­fer the artists and tech­ni­cians in the com­pany in­spi­ra­tion for many of their sil­ver prod­ucts.

The com­pany is lo­cated in Lingqiu county, Da­tong city.

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