Across China: China’s “chalk village” goes global

WUHAN, May 6– Dissolving gypsum powder in water and pouring it into a porous copper mold to solidify, Liu Xianping then took out a handful of chalk from the mold. Having made chalk for over two decades, the 58- year-old is from Liuyuan village, dubbed as “chalk village,” in Yingcheng city of central China’s Hubei Province. Realizing the difficulty his hometown was…

by Xinhua writers Wang Tianyu, Tian Zhongquan

WUHAN, May 6 (Xinhua) — Dissolving gypsum powder in water and pouring it into a porous copper mold to solidify, Liu Xianping then took out a handful of chalk from the mold.

Having made chalk for over two decades, the 58-year-old is from Liuyuan village, dubbed as “chalk village,” in Yingcheng city of central China’s Hubei Province.

The village has been producing chalk for over 70 years. In the past, the products were sold locally. However, in 2000, the chalk market became saturated and local villagers needed to find new markets.

Realizing the difficulty his hometown was facing, Liu Xiaofeng, who used to work in an internet company in the southern Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen, chose to return home and start his own business.

He planned to integrate local resources and find a new sales channel. His solution was to sell chalk online, which unexpectedly brought overseas orders to the small village.

After making a web page for his company to post the products, Liu Xiaofeng first received an order of 100,000 yuan (about 15,000 U.S. dollars) from another province. Shortly after that, he received another order from France.

“At that time, it was Easter there, and the client wanted more than 300,000 pieces of egg-shaped chalk,” he said, adding that the order made him overjoyed.

These orders were just a start. Soon afterward, orders from home and abroad poured in. Since then, chalk from Yingcheng city gradually gained fame globally and has been exported to more than 100 countries.

With years of innovation, Liuyuan village can now produce more than 100 kinds of chalk, which is widely used in education, entertainment and other fields. In 2020 alone, the village sold 5 million boxes of chalk.

“We can customize products for clients, and some specially designed chalk is sold at 1.5 dollars apiece,” said Li Junzai, manager of a local chalk company, whose products are mainly sold abroad.

“The growing chalk industry has made villagers happier and richer,” said Liu Hantao, Party chief of the village, adding that over 4,000 villagers work in this industry.

Visitors can see villagers busy placing and drying chalk on the roadside. “This job enables me to work at my doorstep, earning 3,000 to 5,000 yuan a month,” said 53-year-old villager Tu Juhua. Enditem

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