Made in China
July 23, 2007 7:49 AM   Subscribe

Made in China. A look inside the world’s manufacturing center. Flash video slideshow of the port of Shenzhen (7:00 minutes with sound)
posted by srboisvert (26 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Grrreat post.

However, the link resized my browser, and the sound is in fact cheezy 'Oriental synth.'
posted by KokuRyu at 8:06 AM on July 23, 2007

I found Bunnie Huang's recent series of posts on this subject absolutely fascinating.
posted by simonw at 8:57 AM on July 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

interesting.... thanks...
posted by HuronBob at 9:04 AM on July 23, 2007

These photos are from an article featured in last month's Atlantic. The article was fascinating, and left me with a much different impression of life in China. It's a great read if you can find a copy. Also, PBS Independent Lens filmed an amazing documentary called China Blue that gives you an even deeper look into life as a Chinese factory worker.
posted by pantsonfire at 9:13 AM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Great link, simonw. It's interesting how the quantities and costs alter where they draw the line between using humans and using automation.
posted by exogenous at 9:24 AM on July 23, 2007

Cool, thanks. Especially liked the brief part on the port itself - 1 container ship per second for the whole year - incredible.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:53 AM on July 23, 2007

Wow, great post indeed.
posted by nasreddin at 10:25 AM on July 23, 2007

Sluglicker - dead on. It's scary how despensible people are in the factories of south China.

Shenzhen - a fascinating shit-hole. Self-linky
posted by photoslob at 11:01 AM on July 23, 2007

Great article! I actually have a spare copy of the print version (entire magazine)...if any of ya's wants my dead-tree copy, e me: diastematic ayut yahoo dot com.
posted by diastematic at 11:05 AM on July 23, 2007

Wow - that is intense. I am sitting here looking at everything digital in my room, and realizing the most of it probably came from factories like these.
posted by thomasthefirst at 11:43 AM on July 23, 2007

allkindsoftime writes "1 container ship per second for the whole year - incredible."

"One container is shipped"...can't be a container ship :) . There are 31536000 seconds in a 365 days year , which means loading 86400 containers a day or 3600 containers loaded in a hour. With 20 cranes doing the job, at 180 containers an hour that means one every 3 minute per crane. I wonder how many teu cranes are operating 24h in Shenzhen port.
posted by elpapacito at 12:06 PM on July 23, 2007

It's scary how despensible people are in the factories of south China.

Peasants are dispensable everywhere in China. Working in a factory is in many ways better than the traditional life of a peasant and it gives them the opportunity to get ahead for their children's sake to break the cycle of poverty. Given a choice the girls would rather a factory worker. One step forward, in a generation or two there will be more improvements (assuming they can get rid of the kleptocracy communists).
posted by stbalbach at 12:47 PM on July 23, 2007

good post. i remember seeing a documentary at full frame that was made from the polar opposite perspective, which showed a decisively different view. this was a nice cursory view of it all, without getting into the sheer...heartbreak of these factories.
posted by virga at 12:58 PM on July 23, 2007

I seem to recall that in World War II, the deciding factor in the United States' victory was our domestic manufacturing base. Given that this is now gone, and China dominates this space, I have to wonder: will we be speaking Mandarin or Cantonese following World War III?
posted by mullingitover at 1:07 PM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

WWII was fought with tanks and airplanes. On the modern battlefield, tanks and airplanes are basically useless (Iraq), or, if two sides go to war using conventional forces, it's not a matter of increasing industrial capacity to make up for destroyed hardware. The side that runs out of tanks first resorts to nuclear weapons. Following WWIII, there won't even be a need for language.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:45 PM on July 23, 2007

good post!
posted by joelf at 3:08 PM on July 23, 2007

060;nitpick062; samyourai? 060;/nitpick062;
posted by bwg at 3:30 PM on July 23, 2007

posted by bwg at 3:30 PM on July 23, 2007

pallet: ˈpa-lət
posted by tomplus2 at 3:46 PM on July 23, 2007

I think he meant TEU’s or one 20ft container shipped every second. A ship a second does not sound accurate, actually it sounds retarded. The port of Shenzhen is not yet at 31 million plus TEU’s much less ships leaving the harbor.
posted by MapGuy at 4:09 PM on July 23, 2007

Good post. Interesting
posted by niccolo at 4:25 PM on July 23, 2007

I think it said a container a second.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:34 PM on July 23, 2007

If anyone could scan a copy of the article and email it, I would be grateful. There isn't an online only subscription option.
posted by bystander at 8:18 PM on July 23, 2007

photoslob: those pictures are excellent. Thanks for posting them.

pantsonfire: you beat me to the China Blue link. I watched it recently and thought about making it an FPP, but figured that would lead to it being taken off of google video post haste, so I decided to wait until I could post it as a relevant comment somewhere. Glad someone did, it's an excellent film. The film's website has a lot more information about the film, and how it had to be remade two or three times. There is lots of other information and is a pretty interesting read in general.

Another very good article is from National Geographic about China's boomtowns, factory towns that spring up on undeveloped land or "bought out" farmland where the previous owners were paid less than the land was worth and essentially forced to move. It also profiles a few of the various people involved in a factory. There's much more to it than that, and it's something you don't really get to read about too often, or in depth, in other places. Don't forget to check out the pictures, too. China's Instant Cities.
posted by wander at 8:52 PM on July 23, 2007

simonw... that was a great link, thanks. (
posted by acro at 9:34 AM on July 24, 2007

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