Dealers weigh dried fox pelts in a factory in Chongfu township, Zhejiang Province. (Photo: Yang Hui/GT)
Stagnant domestic and global demand is exerting downward pressure on China's leather and fur industry.
Fur manufacturers and dealers are tightening their belts in the city of Jiaxing, East China's Zhejiang Province, the capital of the nation's leather and fur industry.
In the township of Chongfu, production in fur clothing factories has slumped after the number of orders took a nosedive.
In a large factory, only about 20 workers are now processing pieces of fur to make expensive overcoats and accessories, while unprocessed furs sit in a storage refrigerator.
Factories in Jiaxing process a variety of animal pelts, from the expensive furs of foxes and martens to more affordable types like rabbits and other common mammals.
The furs come from animal farms in Shandong and Hebei provinces, and the products are sold all over the country and exported to Russia, Japan and the US.
The industry has been hard hit in the last couple of years. A mink coat used to sell for 20,000-30,000 yuan ($3,090-4,635) in the market, but prices have plummeted to about 10,000 yuan. Other fur products have experienced a similar slump.
The dealers say this is due to a plunge in fur prices in the world market. China has been experiencing an economic slowdown and demand in foreign markets has also dwindled. On the other hand, during 2009 and 2013, the size of the fur farming industry increased by 30-40 percent every year, according to the China Leather Industry Association, which resulted in chronic oversupply.
People in this industry say that their business can survive, although with reduced profits, but the workers in these factories may be left out in the cold by job losses. They can only hope that this year's autumn peak season is enough to keep them in work.