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China Daily Global / 2021-05 / 04 / Page005

Manager who rose at garment factory shares formula for success

By ZHANG XIAOMIN in Dalian | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-05-04 00:00

Hu Dongmei and her fellow workers at Dalian-based Dayang Group are carrying forward the spirit of model workers to overcome difficulties and produce more high quality suits.

"Despite the influence of the COVID-19 outbreak, Dayang manufactured nearly 1 million made-to-measure bespoke suits last year," said Hu, general manager of Dayang, the world's largest producer of such garments.

Hu, 47, was recognized as a national model worker at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in November, together with 1,688 other model workers and 804 exemplary people.

Hu believes she won the honor not through her own abilities but on behalf of the company. The spirit of model workers and craftsmen has played a significant role in the development of Dayang, she said.

"Over the past 41 years, this group of ordinary people at Dayang has made remarkable achievements," Hu said. "Every one of us is a model worker."

Starting from a sewing workshop in Yangshufang town's Pulandian district of Dalian, Liaoning province, Dayang has grown into a group company with 24 subsidiaries and more than 5,000 employees.

Its annual production capacity is 11 million units or sets of suits, shirts, pants, chinos, outwear and accessories. Its customers are from more than 20 countries and regions, including the United States, Canada and the Netherlands.

Hu's mother-in-law, Li Guilian, the founder and president of Dayang Group, was recognized twice as a national model worker, in 1989 and 1995.

Hu still remembers the summer day in 1989 when hundreds and thousands of residents in the town lined the street to hail the returning heroine after she received the award in Beijing.

Hu recalled: "I was a junior middle school student at that time. Our school neighbored her garment factory. On that day, I was among the dozens of students who scaled the wall to watch the celebration."

Because national model workers are selected every five years, being named is a great honor, she added, and Li provided inspiration for anyone watching.

Like many residents of the town, Hu's father worked for Dayang. But he died suddenly when Hu was in senior middle school. Li, on behalf of Dayang's Party committee, told Hu not to worry because the company would support her.

When Hu applied for membership in the Communist Party of China as a sophomore at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, her teacher asked her why she wanted to join the Party.

"I told him that I was able to study at the university because of the financial aid from Dayang," Hu said. "I wanted to be a member of the Party to help poor people live better lives."

Hu joined Dayang in 1999 after she obtained a master's degree from DUFE. Starting as a clerk in the accounting department, she advanced to board secretary of Dayang's listed company and chief human resources officer. In 2009, she became head of the company's Party committee, which had more than 300 members.

"Step by step, I gained experience and practice in various positions and contributed more to the company," Hu said.

In 2014, Hu was named general manager of Dayang Group.

In recent years, Hu has led the company to expand the global high-end market and carry out intelligent production upgrades. Dayang now boasts more than 40 intelligent production lines. Real-time data acquisition and transmission between tens of thousands of devices is realized through 5G technology.

"We will accelerate the development of the brand's design and intelligent production capabilities to provide our customers with better products and extreme cost performance," Hu said.

For example, influenced by the pandemic, more people are working at home via video link. Dayang launched a line of suits made of comfortable fabrics but look formal to help people dress smarter for the online office.

In the fight against the coronavirus, Dayang built a high-level air purification workshop to produce masks, isolation clothing and other materials for epidemic prevention.

"The clothing industry is a low-profit industry. For a midrange and high-end garment manufacturer whose export orders account for 80 percent of sales, the epidemic really hurt," Hu said.

Even so, not even one employee of Dayang was laid off or had their pay cut because of the pandemic, she said. Dayang also donated 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) to Pulandian district's charity federation in February 2020.

Hu usually reads to beat stress.

"The fragmentation of information can confuse people," she said. "Simple values and constant learning can make us feel calm and help us gather strength."

Every day after dinner, Hu and her husband like accompanying their 13-year-old daughter in reading and reciting some Chinese classic, such as the Analects of Confucius. It is one of Hu's favorite ways to relax.

She also pays attention to the growth of the young generation in Yangshufang town.

With the bonus of 30,000 yuan she received as a national model worker, she plans to add some money from her own pocket and set up a 100,000 yuan scholarship at her junior middle school.

The school invited Hu to lecture students on what it means to be a model worker.

"It's my great honor to share my experiences with them. I was born into a farmer's family. I realized my dream through diligence and hard work," she said.

"As for the value of life, some people think it is money, honor, status, or personal enjoyment. In my opinion, only by integrating into a group and contributing the most to help the group grow can one's own value be maximized."


A view of Dayang Group in Dalian, Liaoning province. CHINA DAILY



A worker cuts fabric. CHINA DAILY



Hu Dongmei (middle), general manager of Dayang Group poses for a photo with Australian partners in 2017. CHINA DAILY



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