Local eyeglass case industry goes global

Xinhua, December 13, 2023
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Workers make eyeglass cases at the workshop of a company in Xinhe County, north China's Hebei Province, Oct. 4, 2023.(Photo by Li Shiqiang/Xinhua)

At the workshop of a company in north China's Hebei Province, various eyeglass cases are waiting to be shipped to different countries and regions.

"The material, color, size and even the packaging and barcode of every batch of eyeglass cases are customized in accordance with the needs of foreign customers," said Li Yingchun, general manager of the company in Xinhe County. "The order-based production process prevents the waste of resources."

Li's company produces 30 million eyeglass cases a year, 78 percent of which are exported to Britain, the Netherlands, the United States, India and other countries, with an export value of 9 million U.S. dollars.

The eyeglass case industry in Xinhe County has a history of over 50 years. The county is home to more than 400 enterprises related to the eyeglass case business, employing more than 10,000 people.

The county produces over 700 million eyeglass and accessory cases a year, and its products are mainly exported to more than 30 countries and regions.

Su Xinjian, president of the local eyeglass case industry association said that the industry began in the 1970s when a family workshop was set up in a local village to make eyeglass products.

The labor-intensive business provided job opportunities for surrounding villagers and grabbed a considerable share of the domestic and global markets with low costs.

However, as the business was growing, various problems, including rough management, basic technology and the lack of service awareness, hindered the overseas orders.

In 2007, several skilled workers, including Li, left the workshop and established modern factories in an economic development zone.

"In the beginning, without suitable mechanical equipment, we had to communicate with customers from different countries several times before the molds were finalized for mass production," Li recalled.

Su Yinghui, an employee of Li's company, said he has witnessed some 100 equipment upgrades, technological improvements and product upgrades in the company.

"In the past, we made the eyeglass cases by hand, but now most of the work is done with machines," said Su, who has been making cases for 16 years.

Li's company has gradually won the favor of international customers through its product quality and service awareness, following the development of the business and its industrial cluster.

The county now has five leading eyeglass case producers engaged in foreign trade business.

Li Jingqiang, general manager of another leading enterprise, said in addition to the eyeglass case deals, they also produce other accessories, such as leather, packages and molds, and high-end products including contact lenses and nano-cleaning cloths.

"Our county aims to turn the industrial cluster into the largest eyeglass case production base in China," said Ji Zhiyong, deputy chief of Xinhe County. 

Workers make eyeglass cases at the workshop of a company in Xinhe County, north China's Hebei Province, Oct. 4, 2023.(Photo by Li Shiqiang/Xinhua)