Taizhou, Zhejiang — The government of Wenling township, Taizhou, Zhejiang province has closed down over 4,000 small shoe manufacturers that do not meet the required fire protection standards since a fire in a local shoe company caused 16 deaths in January 2014.
Wenling has been a major shoe manufacturing base in China with 6,000 shoe manufacturers and a 1bn pairs/year output or 8% of the country’s total annual output, according to Lu Hua, deputy director of the footwear office, China Leather Industry Association.
Most shoes in Wenling are made with polyurethane materials.
“A majority of the shoe makers closed down are small workshops with less than 10 employees, some of which don’t even have a legitimate license,” said Lu. “Such workshops will be allowed to reopen once they meet the requirements. So far, at least a few hundred of the larger companies are back in business.”