Workers depicted in the film Factory Boss. © Da Gong Lao Ban, Zhang Wei, China, 2014
Workers depicted in the film Factory Boss. © Da Gong Lao Ban, Zhang Wei, China, 2014

Hard-hitting film depicts Chinese factory processes

25 February 2016

Factory Boss, a hard-hitting film about a Chinese toy factory owner who is desperately forced to cut costs, will have its European premiere at this year’s Asia House Film Festival on Friday.

The film, which won its star the Best Actor Award at the Montreal World Film Festival, depicts a factory owner in Shenzhen, China, who is forced to cut corners when he accepts an order from an American corporation well below production costs.

In the film factory owner Lin Dalin accepts a last-minute order to produce dolls for the Western market but strong competition from cheaper Asian producers and fluctuating exchange rates reduce already negligible profit margins.

To pull out would mean shutting down the factory and leaving his workers unemployed, so instead he speeds up production, increases working hours, delays staff wages and waives safety regulations.

The film, by director Zhang Wei, looks at the social and economic aspects of globalisation from a multitude of perspectives and tries to depict processes behind the “Made in China” hallmark.

In 2012 SM ran a story detailing how workers were toiling under sweatshop conditions at Chinese factories producing badges and mascot toys for the London Olympic Games.

A report by Playfair found low wages, excessive working hours, child labour, dangerous health and safety conditions and audit fraud at two factories in China’s Guangdong Province.

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