From industrialization to intelligence How does a baseball cap go from a seaside town to the world? –

With an annual output of 500 million hats, one-third of the world’s baseball caps are produced here

How a baseball cap went from seaside town to global

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In Xiaoyao Village, Ligezhuang Town, Shandong Province, the 3-kilometer-long hat-making raw and auxiliary material sales commercial street has realized “all supply chain support can be solved without leaving the town”, and it has also enabled the local hat-making industry to have low-cost, high-quality products. , the advantage of short construction period, towards the tens of billions of “hat-making city” forward.

In Jiaozhou, Shandong, there is such a small town: the town has a population of 120,000, 30% of which are engaged in hat-related industries, and one-third of the world’s baseball caps come from here.

From the birth of the first hat-making enterprise in 1985 to now having more than 600 full-chain enterprises, Ligezhuang Town has formed an industrial matrix integrating raw and auxiliary material procurement, product design, processing and manufacturing, and logistics and transportation, realizing “every village has a hat enterprise”. “The industry structure of “solving all the supply and demand of the industry without leaving the town” has an annual output of more than 500 million hats and an annual output value of 4 billion yuan.

How did the humble seaside town seize the market opportunity and become the “hometown of hats” that everyone in the industry knows? The reporter came here a few days ago to explore the secrets behind the “Kingdom of Hats”.

Trained a group of hat-making “experts”

Walking in the streets and alleys of Ligezhuang Town, you will find that the “hat element” here is very prominent. Whether it is a shop along the street or an enterprise factory, all of them are closely related to hats. As the birthplace of the hat-making industry in Ligezhuang Town, Xiaoyao Village is the signboard of hat-making enterprises everywhere.

“Ligezhuang Town has a population of 120,000. Residents aged 20 to 70 can find employment here, and villagers can earn 10,000 yuan a month without leaving home.” Zheng Jian, deputy director of the town’s Linkong Economic Development Bureau, told Reporter, the origin of hat making in Ligezhuang Town can be traced back to 1985.

At that time, the first joint venture Qingdao Feilong Golden Crown Hat Factory in Ligezhuang Town was established, which was also the first real hat-making enterprise in Ligezhuang Town. In just three years, the company employs more than 1,000 people and produces more than 18 million hats of various types annually. In 1996, Shenglong hat factory, a wholly-owned Hong Kong businessman, was established, with more than 5,000 employees, and the development of the local hat-making industry began to take shape.

“At that time, the two companies drove more than 200 self-employed businesses in the surrounding area, and many foreign businessmen came to Ligezhuang Town to invest.” Zheng Jian said that the two companies have successively trained a group of hat-making “experts” in the local area, many of them “Stand on its own”, the hat industry has also achieved explosive growth.

Relevant data show that Ligezhuang Town currently has more than 620 various types of sports cap production and supporting businesses, and 82 sports cap manufacturers above designated size, with an annual output of 500 million mid-to-high-end sports caps and casual caps, and more than 90% of them are exported overseas. .

As the scale of the hat-making industry continues to grow, cloth merchants and equipment manufacturers from Shanghai, Zhejiang and other places have come here to set up new factories, and many local villagers have also joined the fields of auxiliary material supply and downstream processing. Ligezhuang Town has gradually formed a cluster The whole industrial chain integrating procurement of raw and auxiliary materials, product design, processing and manufacturing.

The reporter learned that in Xiaoyao Village, which is about 3 kilometers long, the hat-making raw and auxiliary materials sales commercial street, merchants from all over the country operate hundreds of categories of shops, realizing “all supply chain facilities can be solved without leaving the town”, This also gives the local hat-making industry the advantages of low cost, high quality and short construction period.

After 2008, Ligezhuang Town focused on building the hat-making industry as a leading industry. In 2009, the China National Light Industry Council and the China Minority Products Association jointly awarded Ligezhuang Town the title of “Hometown of Chinese Hat-making”. Six hat-making enterprises in the town The “Six-Piece Sports Cap” light industry standard compiled was approved for implementation and became the production guideline for the entire industry.

From industrialization to intelligence

A baseball cap, the production process is not complicated, why does Li Gezhuang sit firmly in the “top spot” in the industry?

Zhou Jia, head of Qingdao Yiguan Binran Hat Manufacturing Co., Ltd., told reporters that there are more than 30 processes for a hat from fabric slicing to packaging. There are strict specifications, and the errors of many processes must be controlled within millimeters.

“The design of the baseball cap and the splicing of the brim of the hat are a test of the skill of the board maker. In Ligezhuang Town, the mature board masters are local villagers with many years of production experience. They can design and produce customer Satisfactory products, but the seemingly simple splicing of hat brims requires experienced workers to complete.” Zhou Jia said.

Guo Mingfei, the person in charge of Qingdao Feiteng Hat Manufacturing Co., Ltd. joined the hat manufacturing industry in 2008, and his company focuses on the mid-to-high-end market. In his view, the industrial advantages of Ligezhuang Town mainly come from high-quality raw materials, skilled processing technology and mature industrial chain. “No matter how big the order is, the division of labor and cooperation of factories in our industrial chain can easily digest it.” .

With the rapid expansion of the market, the disadvantages of this industrial model have gradually emerged.

“At present, enterprises in the town are still mainly managed by families, and the age of workers is generally too old.” Zheng Jian said that in recent years, more and more local enterprises have begun to explore automation transformation, but there are still many enterprises that are difficult to achieve due to financial problems. .

In this regard, the local hat maker association took the lead in creating a 2,000-square-meter intelligent shared factory, through which enterprises can realize “Original Processing” according to their own needs.

The reporter learned that the shared factory is currently equipped with more than 130 smart devices, which can complete 80% of the manufacturing processes such as hat brims and hat straps. The overall efficiency has increased by 4 times, and the cost has been reduced by 30%. dividend.

“Sharing factories not only improves the production efficiency and product quality of small enterprises, avoids the waste of resources, but also makes leading enterprises more ‘profitable’.” Zheng Jian said.

Hat making companies broaden their thinking

During the interview, Guo Mingfei told the reporter about such an experience.

In the early days of the company’s establishment, in order to quickly open up overseas markets, Guo Mingfei came to the United States to visit major brands every day to promote their own products. This stay lasted for half a year. Although the sales channels have been broadened, the title of “OEM” has always troubled Guo Mingfei.

Zheng Jian said frankly that although Ligezhuang Town has a hat-making history of more than 30 years, it has never had its own brand. Right now, they are working hard towards this goal.

In 2017, Qingdao Qianfeng International Hat Art Co., Ltd. created the brand Doodays and opened a flagship store on the platform. There are more than ten styles of sports hats and casual hats, with monthly sales of more than 20,000 pieces. Since then, through platforms such as Douyin and Kuaishou, Doodays has seized more market share with 8 hours of live broadcasting per day, and sold one million hats within half a year.

As a leading local hat-making company, Qianfeng Hat Art created a customized brand Topcul with the help of the “smart hat selection” system for rapid modeling of human faces, which meets the personalized pursuit of high-end users, and its monthly orders can exceed 10,000 pieces.

The successful operation of the intelligent shared factory has also broadened the thinking of more and more hat-making enterprises in Ligezhuang Town.

Now, they have begun to build an 8,000-square-meter smart material warehouse, hoping to solve the pain points of raw material storage for enterprises.

“In the past, we used to purchase goods in batches. After the smart material warehouse is put into use, even if we only make a hat, we can buy raw materials at the lowest price.” Zheng Jian said.

In addition, the local area also plans to build a 2-square-kilometer hat accessories industrial park, and created a 15,000-square-meter Qingdao SCO cross-border e-commerce industrial park. After completion, it will provide brand promotion for sub-sectors such as hats and wigs. , E-commerce operations, product releases, overseas promotion, testing and certification, warehousing and logistics and other comprehensive services, the “hometown of hats” is moving towards a “famous city of hats” with a level of tens of billions.

Zhang Qiang

2023-04-17 18:43:45
#industrialization #intelligence #baseball #cap #seaside #town #world


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