April 20, 2022
BEIJING – Editor’s Note: This series of stories looks at local enterprises in specialized sectors that have a share in global markets.
A snow-white feather rises in the air, then flutters to the ground, and Sun Zhenghai picks it up and throws it in with millions of others. Then he picks up a shuttle, the projectile used in badminton－each of which has 16 goose feathers－and shows it to visitors.
Sun, the founder and president of Anhui Huayu Sports Goods, has witnessed the development of the local feather processing industry. His plant in Ganchahe township of Shucheng county in East China’s Anhui province covers 6,700 square meters.
Anhui Huayu Sporting Goods sold more than 24 million badminton shuttles at home and overseas in 2021, accounting for about one-third of the township’s annual production.
The city of Lu’an, which administers Shucheng county, annually produces more than 14 million Wanxi white geese, a local species, according to the local government.
“The goose breeding sector provides an important material source for my business,” Sun said.
Sun, who was born in the late 1960s, is a native of the township’s Hongdang village. In the early 1990s, he joined the villagers in the feather trade in rural areas.
“I rode a bicycle to villages, buying goose and duck feathers kept by rural households,” said Sun, who in turn sold the feathers to major dealers at a higher price.
The business was laborious but profitable. He soon bought a motorbike so he could travel farther.
In 1996, Sun started a workshop in the yard of his house. He processed the feathers that he had purchased－washing, sun-drying and slicing them－before selling them to companies outside Lu’an.
Local badminton shuttle producers gradually began to emerge and grow in number.
“My business then soared and I had to purchase feathers from even outside Anhui province,” said Sun.
In 2009, he invested 8 million yuan ($1.26 million) to build his company’s plant and equip the assembly line.
In 2017, due to the impact of e-commerce, traditional sales stagnated. “Then I persuaded my son and son-in-law to return from other cities to help me with online marketing,” said Sun.
With the success of companies such as Sun’s, Ganchahe township’s government has been cultivating and attracting more manufacturers, according to Wang Huanran, deputy Party secretary of the township, which has more than 40,000 residents.
They began producing badminton shuttles, then rackets and sports shirts and shoes, according to Wang.
“Now the township has more than 100 enterprises of feather processing and sporting goods, and the feather processing sector alone sees an annual output value of about 1.5 billion yuan,” Wang said.