Ceramic hub's exports mold profitable future

2021-01-05 12:02:09

A staff member of the Shunmei Group in Dehua county, Fujian province, showcases a vase set for export to Europe or the United States in December. WEI PEIQUAN/XINHUA From regular COVID-19 updates to client visits, Zheng Pengfei's social media posts offer a glimpse into how his ceramics business has fared through much of the past year. Many orders were canceled in March and April due to the pandemic, casting a shadow on the business of Shunmei Group, a leading ceramics exporter in Dehua county of East China's Fujian province, says Zheng, the group's general manager. To counter the impact, Zheng and his team doubled their efforts to maintain close contact with foreign clients through email and WeChat, and to make sure every shipment was delivered as scheduled. As the pandemic eased in China, Shunmei's exports began to recover in May. "Orders have continued to come in over recent months," says Zheng. "Christmas-related products have sold particularly well." Thanks to robust exports of ceramic home accessories and seasonal gifts, which account for around 80 percent of Shunmei's business, the company's exports this year are expected to outperform those of last year despite the impact of the pandemic. Dehua, a ceramics manufacturing powerhouse in China, exports more than 60 percent of its ceramic products to over 190 countries and regions worldwide. It was dubbed the "World Ceramics Capital" by the World Crafts Council in 2015. From 1985 to 2019, the number of ceramics-making companies in Dehua ballooned from a few dozen to more than 3,000. Roughly a third of the county's population works in the industry.