THE CHINESE EXPERIENCE BY DAVID BERLIN INTERNATIONAL VISUAL MERCHANDISING MAGAZINE + SPORT MANNEQUIN ADVERT
I am not sure if it is exhilaration or sheer panic, but my stomach turns violenty as the airplane makes it's steep and sudden descent only feet over the tenament buildings of Hong Kong to land at Kai Tak airport. Some moments later relief becomes mingled with another worry -will the plane stop before the runway runs out -leaving a large drop into Honk Kong bay) So far, and I have made this trip many, many times, no problem! After a 14 hour airplane flight it is still necessary to board another plane for the 50 minute journey .
to Xiamen in China. All in all the journey time is about 23 hours from home to get to a hotel, and after that all you want is a bath and bed. Universal opened a fibre glass factory in China 5 years ago and in April 1997 the new larger factory will be up and running. Our Taiwanese Chinese partner "Joe" has been working with us for 12 years and now we are like family. It would have been impossible to do anything in China without his involvement, his being able to speak the right dialect of Chinese, and knowing who "to look
after" in our village (as it is hard to work without water and electricity etc.) In the 5 years we have never had a problem but have heard horror stories from elsewhere in China. The factory is in a rural setting 3 miles from Xiamen, a port ciry on the soum east coast of Fujian province Just 50 minutes by plane from Hong Kong. It is probably the most active and exciting city in China at the moment. In the middle of a special economic zone, Xiamen is thriving and changing out of all recognition. It is sometimes difficult to recognise the new road layouts and buildings that are continually being constructed. Our factory employs 60 staff, who are all newly trained and are now able to produce fibreglass mannequins to a standard equal to anyone in the world. In fact, our mannequins are to be seen in all the most prestigious stores worldwide to our great pride. We are able to produce quality at very low prices and even exclusive ranges to clients who demand to be different. We see the future of mannequins exactly this way with clients more and more demanding exclusivity without having to spend a small fortune on design and moulding fee or having to commit themselves to huge orders. The last 5 years in China have been thrilling, infuriating, heartbreaking, exasperating, happy and now calm and efficient. We look forward to the future with confidence and excitement, ready for the challenge.