Selling Human Hair Is Now a Growing Business in China

December 1, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. booming /bum ɪŋ/ (adj.) – experiencing growth or success
Example: Online schools are a booming business in Japan.

2. humble beginnings /ˈhʌm bəl  bɪˈgɪn ɪŋs/ (idiom.) – starting from very little means or low status
Example: The millionaire is not ashamed of his humble beginnings.

3. dealer /ˈdi lər/ (n.) – an agent or a company that buys and sells a product
Example: Autopia is the largest automobile dealer in Europe.

4. heir /ɛər/ (n.) – a person who inherits property or a title after another person dies
Example: As an heir, he was trained how to run the big real estate empire.

5. local /ˈloʊ kəl/ (n.) – a person from a specific place
Example: Some locals in the province wish to live in the city instead.


Read the text below.
Trade of human hair is a booming business in China, making the country the biggest exporter of hair products. 

This business is concentrated in Taihe [TAHY-huh], a rural area in China. Located in the eastern province of Anhui [ahn-HWEY], Taihe has over 400 companies manufacturing hair products from curly extensions to wigs, which are being exported to the United States, Europe, and Africa. Local authorities plan to make a big industrial park solely for this industry.

Fu Quanguo [chen-KWO], who started the business in the 1970s, recalls that making products out of hair was difficult in the past, as everything was stitched by hand. From his humble beginnings, Fu’s business has now expanded, even exporting internationally. Before, the supply of hair comes only from Chinese locals. But now, the supply comes from dealers from Vietnam, Myanmar, and other neighboring countries.

According to local officials, the export of hair products from Taihe generated $88 million in 2012. The World Trade Organization’s International Trade Center also reported that in the same year, around 75 percent of the world’s bird skin, feathers, artificial flowers, and human hair products came from China. 

Fu Qianwei [CHIEN-wey], Fu’s heir, runs a company that exports $8 million worth of hair products a year to the United States. He says that the demands on length, thickness, and quality of hair vary in different countries.

While this industry provides huge profit to businessmen, it also offers employment to many locals of Taihe. Fu’s company, for example, employs more than 200 full-time workers.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think the hair industry is growing nowadays?
·         Do you think this industry will also succeed in your country? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What are the common struggles a person may face when starting a business?
·         What are the ways to overcome the struggles and become successful?

December 1, 2014