Lishui develops wooden toy industry
Yunhe county in Lishui city, East China's Zhejiang Province, is surrounded by mountains. In the past, a significant number of rural residents in Yunhe lived in mountains and areas surrounding reservoirs, making it difficult for them to enjoy a prosperous life.
By moving its population, industrial and public service resources to the county seat, Yunhe has achieved a leapfrog in coordinating development between the county seat and its surrounding rural areas. By May 2022, the county had relocated 40,600 rural residents, with about 58 percent of them having moved away from mountainous areas.
Lan Shaofang is a worker at a local wooden toy company. She makes more than 1,000 toy parts in one day, and the wooden toys have been sold to countries and regions in Europe, including France and Italy. "I can earn about 3,500 yuan ($521.85) a month," the woman said.
Another relocated rural resident in Yunhe, 26-year-old Li Mingli, nowadays works as an e-commerce customer service staff member for the same toy company, earning more than 4,000 yuan a month. A 33-year-old deliveryman, Wang Hongzhang, meanwhile earns more than 7,000 yuan a month. Thanks to the wooden toy industry, quite a large number of rural residents and their family members have secured jobs inside the locality.
"Wooden toy manufacturing is a labor-intensive industry. The manufacturing techniques are easy to learn and the threshold for one to engage in the industry is low. Therefore, it is a good choice for relocated farmers," said Ren Junwei, head of the development and reform department of Yunhe county.
At present, there are over 1,000 wooden toy companies in Yunhe, and 80 percent of them are run by relocated farmers. These companies altogether employ more than 31,000 people and some 70 percent of the relocated farmers now work for the toy companies. In 2021, the total output value of the wooden toy industry in Yunhe amounted to 9.19 billion yuan, up 14.9 percent year-on-year.
At an e-commerce company in Yunhe, salespersons were hosting a livestreaming show to promote locally-produced wooden toys. "This year, we've hosted more than 100 livestreaming sessions, which contributed to a sales volume for the wooden toys at more than 2 million yuan," said Zhang Haibo, head of the company.
"We started to cultivate the e-commerce industry in 2015, and as of now, the industry has provided jobs for more than 10,000 people," said Lan Xuefei, head of the economy and commerce bureau of Yunhe. Between January and April this year, the online retail sales of goods in Yunhe hit 1.1 billion yuan, up 27.5 percent year-on-year.
During the period from 2011 to 2021, the total industrial output value of Yunhe increased from 7.4 billion yuan to 25.5 billion yuan. Moreover, the urbanization rate of Yunhe rose from 60 percent to 73.4 percent over the same period, while the per capita income of rural residents in Yunhe increased from 7,570 yuan to 24,600 yuan. At present, 78 percent of the rural residents employed in the locality are engaged in secondary and tertiary industries.