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Factory workers


Factory workers take a short midday break in the male dormitories in one of the three Stella International shoe factories in Dongguan that has become the most productive municipality of consumer goods in China. Dongguan is in the Pearl Delta area that has seen the most spectacular economic development since Deng Xiaoping began economic reforms in the early 1980s and as a consequence it has also seen the greatest influx of migrants. Reliable statistics are hard to come by, however, in the last twenty years both Dongguan municipality and the neighbouring Shenzhen Special Economic Zone have seen their populations grow by over twenty million people each. The Taiwanese company “Stella International” has a total of 65000 employees (mainly in the Pearl River Delta) and produces shoes for major international brands like Nike, Reebok, Clarks etc as well as products for the internal market. Working and living conditions in the Stella International factories are considered good by Chinese standards (employees only work the legal maximum 72 hours per week and have 2 weeks fully paid holidays per year), however, employee turnover remains high with most workers staying for two to three years only.