Shiwan ceramic
2009.05.18


Shiwan -- Cradle land for Ceramics in China, leader in architectural ceramics 
 
After thousands of years of vicissitudes, the well-established brand name of “South China ceramic capital” still stands rock firm, and becomes even more famous. Therefore, it is quite proper to describe Shiwan Town of Chancheng District as a place endowed with natural treasures and talented people. In a new round of economic take-off, this old town has stretched out its two firm wings: one wing refers to culture – Shiwan, where remain many historical relics and sites as well as architectural heritages rich in traditional culture, boasts of profound historical and cultural background. Two years ago, it was granted the honorary title of “Homeland of Ceramic Arts”; the other is industry – Shiwan has always had as its highlights the production of architectural ceramics, domestic ceramics and artistic ceramics. In recent years, Shiwan, basing on a bigger and stronger ceramics industry, has been unswervingly implementing the strategy of “one main industry in one town” with other industries developing side by side. It was awarded the title of “Specialized Ceramic Town” by Guangdong Science and Technology Department last year.      , 

This pair of wings will lift Shiwan – a famous historical and cultural town to new glory.

An Attractive Business Card – Miracles in Ceramics

Since 1977, archeologists have found large amount of potteries and pottery fragments in Hedang Township, Shiwan Town for several times. They, after identification, came to the conclusion that ancestors of Shiwan had already mastered the pottery making skills some 5,000 years ago. After years of development and accumulation – “The potteries of Shiwan spread all over Guangdong and Guangxi Provinces and are even shipped to overseas countries”, “The tiles of Shiwan top the world” – the Shiwan ceramics rises to fame and has become a miracle in traditional Chinese arts.

In history, “Shiwan kilns” were all folk kilns. Thus, potters were not so constrained in production as in official kilns. They were free from the restrictions of rules and regulations of the government. Their products were natural, stylish, rough and bold and had maintained the primitive and simple folk culture. This is where the spirit of the local culture of Shiwan lies.  , 

Specialists believe that it is an evident proof of “survival of the fittest in natural selection” that Shiwan folk kilns remain vigorous after 5,000 years and every step of their progress and development is closely connected with the demand of the society. Shiwan ceramics has especially gained recognition and acceptance of the world with its strong national and local traits. During its communication with the world, it has also accelerated its paces forward.

The ceramists in Shiwan always lay great emphasis on drawing the essence of large famous kilns and their works become famous home and abroad with their primitive, simple, vivid, elegant and massy artistic effects and local features. This fertile land of ceramics has fostered seven Chinese Crafts and Artisan Masters one after another and many famous ceramists keep coming to the fore. Their excellent works of pottery sculptures created with their distinctive craftsmanship have been treasured up by many world renowned collectors and museums. The tile ridges with human sculptures made of colored glaze which was produced in Shiwan some 100 years ago are still radiating their charms on many old buildings in Foshan, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and even South East Asia. In the hands of the new generation of Shiwan ceramists, these traditional arts and crafts are again carried forward – tile ridges of similar kind but with larger scale and more distinctive characteristics, have already come out.   
Shiwan ceramics, the splendid cultural and art treasure, has already become a favorable business card for developing cultural tourism.

Tourist Attractions with Profound Cultural Background

There are seven clearly marked, well protected and managed ancient architectural structures of the Ming and Qing Dynasties which are under key protection of the state, the province and the city respectively. The careful management of its rich historical and cultural deposits has cultivated in Shiwan a series of world’s best. Its image as a tourist attraction with ceramics as the foundation has been widespread.  

Nanfeng ancient kiln scenic spot has the world’s oldest wood-firing long kiln which is still in use. For 500 years, the fire in the kiln keeps burning, producing potteries continuously. This unique scenic spot is well preserved. It is now an important heritage site under state protection and has been listed into the Guinness World Records. Come close to it and you will get a real understanding of the production, art, history and charm of ceramics. Two years since it was opened to visitors, it has received over 500,000 visitors home and abroad. Some large-scaled activities such as “Walking towards the New Century, Contemporary Ceramists –Fire Burning for a Thousand Years” and “International Seminar on Wood-firing Kilns” had been held here. These activities have built a bridge for Shiwan ceramics to walk onto the stage of international ceramic culture and have been the catalyst for developing cultural tourism.  

Shiwan Park boasts of the world’s largest ceramic human sculpture with a height of eight meters. It is being built into a pottery sculpture theme park with rich ceramic culture. The “light of China” ceramic pillars are designed and produced by famous crafts and artisan masters and are successfully fired and made in Nanfeng ancient kiln. They display the splendid 5,000 years history of Chinese nation. Their unprecedented large scale has initiated a new direction for Shiwan traditional ceramic arts to walk towards modern decoration.   
Shiwan park does not only feature the colorful outdoor ceramic sculptures, but is also famous for its beautiful and auspicious peacocks. The Lvzhou Peacock Garden in the park is the world’s largest peacock ecological garden enclosed by nets which has the largest number and most comprehensive breeds of peacocks. The garden and the ancient kiln scenic spot add radiance and beauty to each other, attracting large number of visitors. It has become another highlight in the tourism industry in Shiwan. 
Last year, Shiwan, taking the opportunity of the first Ceramic Expo, organized a series of tourism promotion activities such as ceramic capital carnival which attracted tens of thousands visitors. Thousands of people came out of their houses to celebrate and thousands of businessmen gathered in the town, promoting the development of tertiary industries, e.g. traffic, transportation, hotel, catering, shopping and tourism which integrate as one and, expanding the influence of the town – the South China ceramic capital.

Strengthen the Town with Ceramic Enterprises and Industry
Shiwan is a fertile land not only for ceramics, but also for enterprises to grow bigger and stronger. In order to establish the ceramic industrial center, the Party Committee and government of the town make great effort to help and support enterprises in terms of policies, information and service and, assist enterprises to carry out steadily reforms to adapt to the development of markets.

The eagle spreads its wings and Da Peng – the roc flies high up into the sky. The two key enterprises, Eagle Ceramics and Dongpeng Ceramic Co., Ltd have maintained momentum for stable development in fierce market competition and have become the leaders in the ceramic industry in Shiwan. 

As the first private enterprise that got listed on the stock market in Singapore, Eagle Ceramics resolved the impact brought about by market competition with its great strength, famous brand name and flexible capital operation and other advantages. The company hired professional managers, introduced new management mode, made reforms to the internal management of the enterprise and continued to research and develop new products with greater market competitiveness. What’s more, the company took part in the World Ceramic Exposition held in Italy on behalf of China for successive five years and reached cooperation intention with Panasonic of Japan, serving as a prelude for Chinese ceramic brands to cooperate with international brands.

As the birthplace of the “king tile in China”, Dongpeng company reformed the original internal organization system, established a divisional system with clear division of power, function and profit, adjusted product structure and marketing strategies, enhanced its managerial efforts on the integration of production, education and research. It is the first in the industry to apply nano technology to ceramics and has always been the leader in developing new products in the ceramic field. The company also implements the strategy of extended development. It invested and established a branch in Shandong Province, making use of the advantages of raw materials, energy, labor and taxation there to seize the markets in northeast China.

The trail of the fast development of Shiwan ceramic industry can be seen from the rise of these two big enterprises. Under the guidance of the Party Committee and government of the town, ceramic enterprises in Shiwan are now gradually carrying out the strategy of “focusing on enterprises at two ends and expanding those in the middle”, stress on the R & D of ceramic products and the circulation links in the market, transfer the production of middle and low grade products to surrounding areas and strive to develop and produce high grade products. They make great efforts to integrate into the global market and actively expand international markets to raise export proportion.

At present, the output of wall and floor tiles of Shiwan has accounted for 54% and 20% respectively of the total of the country and of the world.

An Exhibition Platform and Logistics Center

The saying “enliven a market, invigorate the economy and enrich the masses” is a mirror of the construction of the specialized ceramic markets in Shiwan. After many years’ development, the markets have made continuous improvement with great promotion in both market management level and quality of products. A market network for trading of commodities has been formed, gathering tens of thousands of businessmen, with goods circulating at a fast rate. What a thriving scene! Shiwan is now turning into the largest ceramic marketing and logistics center in China.

-- Large scale. The markets cover a total area of 750,000 m2, with an annual sales volume of over 5 billion yuan.

-- Wide sales coverage. Their products are sold to different places of the country, some of which are even sold to Europe, America, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Macau.

-- Many famous brands. Hedang, Shagang and other markets have gathered exclusive distributors and general agencies of over 1,000 well-known enterprises from home and abroad. Enterprises and businessmen from about 10 countries and regions such as Italy, Spain, America, Japan and Taiwan have also set up their sales points in Shiwan. The Exposition Museum in China Ceramics City has almost included all the brand names (including the three forms of foreign-funded enterprises) in China.

Relying on the advantages of talents, technology, industrial clusters and specialized markets, Shiwan is now actively developing the convention and exhibition economy, trying to make it into a ceramic logistics center. The China Ceramics City combines into one the six functions of ceramic industry exposition center, ceramic products trading center, ceramic industry information center, ceramic cultural tourism center, supporting center for ceramic production as well as warehousing and distribution center for ceramic products. The Foshan Ceramic Exposition 2002 China held in Shiwan was a grand, all-dimensional and comprehensive meeting combining exhibition, trading, information, seminar and cultural tourism. It topped all ceramics exhibitions in China with its high standard, large scale, considerable number of exhibitors, profound culture connotations, wide-spread influence, abundant accomplishments in trade and economic cooperation as well as in cooperation among production, education and research The Shiwan Exhibition Area in Foshan sub-venue of the 17th China International Ceramics Industry Expo will be set up here in May this year.

Beginning with the Ceramic Expo, Shiwan lifts its spirit and embarks on the road forward. It is now taking actively the strategy of driving by brand names, big enterprises and large markets, the strategy of developing private economy and the strategy of invigorating the district through science and education, making great efforts to promote integration of brands, markets, capital, technology and management and striving to build a ceramic industry center and ceramic logistics center which holds brand, technology and market as the core and has international competitiveness.