I traveled to the city of Foshan to see a swim suit factory today. I did a homestay with a family in Beijing last year and I wanted to see the family owned factory: Taizhou Bluechips Apparel Co.
The factory has 120 employees. They work 7 days per week, from 8:00AM to 8:00PM. There is a lunch break from 12:00-1:30PM. Depending on the job, salary between $300 and $440 per month. To make one swimming suit, the cost at the factory may be about $3.
I got a tour of the factory from the 19 year old son of the family who is managing this factory right now. The warehouse is in the back with all the rolls of fabric, then they cut put pieces and send to the assembly area. The majority of employees sit in front of sewing machines putting together certain colors or pieces. The brand this company sells is called Atlantic.
The day I visited, they were making suits for a different company. The label said Fire & Ice brand and said Munich, Germany. No mention that is was made in China.
At 12 noon, everyone heads to the cafeteria for lunch. The son first was going to bring me to a separate restaurant, but I wanted to eat with everyone. He had a separate manager’s table with better quality food. But I asked for a plate of the common employee food. This meat had more bones in it. The manager table had a lot of extra food that no one ate though.
I asked about the economy and how it is effecting business and he said there is little change. But maybe if it keeps getting worse, they may need to sell to Chinese people, but swimming isn’t too popular here. Right now they sell to countries like Russia and Spain. His mom in Beijing takes orders from these countries and tells the factory how much to make.
The family has opened a new factory far away in Zhejiang province. I learned only 50 employees there right now but room to expand greatly. The father works at the new factory.
I asked the son, since the family business is swimming suits, do they like swimming? Only his father likes to swim, but his mother, sister, and himself don’t.
It was nice to see one of the real factories in China, probably the most important places in the country even though they are not tourist attractions. Conditions here weren’t too bad. All the employees looked like adults and they got breaks and were paid relatively good wages.