Why do we have International Labor day? Have you ever wondered who makes most of the products we use every day? Things like running shoes, toasters, and toothbrushes. You probably see the ‘Made in China’ label, so you know where it’s made, but who is making it? It’s easy for us to assume our headphones and water bottles are assembled by machines. Over 99 million people in China are employed in the manufacturing industry. Factory employees choose and order materials, cut, sew, pack, inspect, manage and organize work for others.
China exports close to half of the world’s manufactured goods. This country is also known for its profound history, extensive culture and wonderful people. During the week, the Chinese are dedicated employees, but they are also much more than that. Like most of us, they spend time with their families, travel, cook and exercise. As we approach International Labor Day, to honor workers all over the world we want to share some stories of the people who make it all for you.
Meiyu Li comes from small village located in the Jiangxi Province. Li is a worker at a Xiamen backpack factory. She moved to Xiamen with her husband and two children when a friend recommended her for work. Li works as a seamstress at the factory, a trade she has been perfecting for almost 15 years. “I never think it is a difficult job, but I think I must be very careful and efficient when I do sewing,” says Li.
“Factory workers are very busy,” Li shares. “There are many bags and backpacks that must be manufactured and inspected at the same time. We all work hard and try to finish more products if the deadlines are tight, but we also understand that we can not rush production because that will cause defects.” In her free time Li enjoys cooking for her family. She aspires to open a snack bar to share her culinary secrets with others.
Hongwei Chen was born and raised in small village near Tongxiang city, Zhejiang province. She lives with her mother, husband and son. Chen did not have to travel to find her job and is happily employed at a local printing and packaging factory in the quality control department. “Monitoring overall quality is a big responsibility for me and I feel that a company’s reputation depends on the work I perform. Quality control requires a lot of patience and I am, by nature, a careful person so I see my job as a perfect extension of my character,” says Chen.
Over the weekend, she likes to walk around her village, travel to nearby cities or go shopping. Chen’s goal is to continue to provide a good life for her family. Her mantra she lives by each day is to take everything as it comes, don’t force it and always try to do your best.
Ma Xiu Yu was born in HuBei in 1971 to a poor family. Her mother and father were simple workers. When she turned 23 years old, Yu left her home to look for new opportunities. Foshan city, Guangdong province is where she now calls home. She found a job at a factory making socks, accessories, and apparel. In 2011, Yu became a sample room master at a handmade accessory factory. Two years later, she was recognized as a detail-oriented and reliable employee and was promoted to a production line manager. “I am very interested handmade products. It’s relaxing and a form of meditation for me. When I create something by hand it makes me feel present and alive,” Yu smiles.
She lives with her husband and son and they enjoy travel, reading and watching movies. Yu is a very kind and humble person who will carefully listen and deliver results. “I believe that self-growth, discipline and dedication will help me meet my better self and for that I cherish every day,” says Yu.
Xinhua Huang is the owner of a printing and packaging factory in Haining city, Zhejiang province. Huang’s is a family business with his wife, daughter and mother heavily involved. In 1980, when Huang was 20 years old, China entered a new era of reform which led to rapid economic growth. He had just graduated high school with honors when Huang secured a job which provided him with secure employment, a pension plan, medical insurance and a level of fulfillment. Shortly after, Huang had an idea that would shape his future. He had started helping friends with some printing needs and found he could make extra money. The more projects he took on, the more interesting it became. “Work in printing not only brought me financial independence, but also helped me grow intellectually and explore a whole new world of writing arts,” said Huang.
He further pursued his talents and Huang now has 200 employees working in his printing factory. In his free time, he likes to watch news or read magazines and newspapers such as Global Times (a weekly digest of international news from People’s Daily). Sometimes, he will travel, walk or meet with friends. His dream is simple, but clear- grow and develop his printing business and keep his family happy and healthy. If you ever meet Xinhua Huang, he would be happy to tell you more about the printing world and what an inspiring place it is.
The world of manufacturing needs dedicated team members like Meiyu Li and Xinhua Huang to bring quality products to your homes. These people do what machines can’t when they check for high quality and any defects to products. We are happy to shine a light on just a few of the hard-working and humble employees who help us deliver quality products on-time and on-budget. Happy International Labor Day!