Livewire China entrepreneur returns to his native village and creates local jobs
Sep 12, 2022
Sun JinLong's glass noodle business is creating local jobs in his native village.
China, like many countries, has seen a rapid increase in urbanisation with significant migration of its rural population to larger cities, especially among young people. As a result, rural villages have been left with fewer jobs and economic opportunities. One young man is trying to change that and has returned home from the city to his small mountain village.
Sun JinLong is a university graduate and a community leader in GuShan village, a remote mountain town 300 kilometres away from Beijing. Sun left his hometown in 2010 to attend a technical secondary school in Tianjin, followed by a degree at Heibei University of Technology. After graduating in January 2015, he took up a job as a technical engineer in Tianjin.
At the end of 2015, Sun left behind the opportunities the city provides to take a chance on his dream: to start a glass noodle factory, which he finally opened in August 2020. His successful venture has created 40 jobs for residents, who now earn an average monthly income of about $1,000 USD. For GuShan, the “hometown of the potato” in China, this has been an economic boon.
Sun participated in the Shell LiveWIRE China programme in 2021. With the support of Shell LiveWIRE training, Sun was able to optimise his product packaging and expand his sales from rural markets to e-commerce platforms. Since 2021, his factory has doubled the number of GuShan residents it employs, and his noodle sales have almost tripled from 2020 to 2021. Sun’s success is a lesson in how returning to one’s roots can be a source of inspiration and opportunity for entrepreneurs and their communities.
With a 300-year history of potato farming, the primary economic activity in GuShan today is the growing and preliminary processing of potatoes. It is this history that made the village the perfect place for Sun to start his business and use locally grown potatoes to produce his high-quality glass noodles. He has brought new technology and modern methods, along with strict quality control, to create an additive-free, locally sourced product. Sun has also improved and re-tooled the factory equipment to ensure that his production process is as close to emissions-free as possible.