West Coast New Area

A hat-making hub where tradition meets innovation

( | 2024-03-22


A skilled artisan assembles a hat at a local hat factory. [Photo/WeChat account: jiaozhouwenming]

Located in Jiaozhou, Qingdao, Ligezhuang town has transformed itself from a humble village into a global hat-making powerhouse over the past four decades. With a population of just 120,000, the town produces 500 million hats annually. Its sports hats alone account for half of the nation's output.

Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, Ligezhuang's hat-making industry has evolved from individual workshops into a comprehensive ecosystem. From raw materials and accessories to sewing machines, embroidery equipment, packaging and transportation, everything a hatmaker needs can be found within the town's borders. This convenient environment has nurtured a thriving community of small-scale hat manufacturing enterprises.

While the town still cherishes its tradition of family-run workshops, many businesses are embracing automation and innovation. Spearheaded by the local hat-making association, a 2,000-square-meter shared factory has been established, equipped with intelligent machines capable of producing hatbands, Velcro fasteners, and other components. A single worker can manage four to six machines, churning out 250,000 hatbands per day.

Currently equipped with over 80 intelligent devices, the factory automates 80 percent of the hat-making process, quadrupling work efficiency and reducing production costs by 30 percent. Over 200 hat manufacturers in the vicinity have benefited from the facility.

Over the past few years, Ligezhuang town has charted a remarkable path from humble beginnings to a thriving industrial hub. Today, hats crafted by the skilled hands of Ligezhuang's residents travel around the world, carrying the town's vibrant spirit to far-flung corners of the earth.