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[Comments] (1) These Are The Supply Chains I Forged In Life: For a while I've been fascinated by Alibaba.com, a sort of B2B Etsy that connects you to the Chinese and Indian companies that manufacture all of the manufactured objects in your life. For instance, I searched for "dinosaur" and discovered Zigong Gengulongteng Science and Technology Co., which makes animatronic dinosaurs for amusement parks and museums. They have a video corporate intro and pictures of the dinosaurs under construction.

Based on the original fossil was discovered, with use of modern voice, light, electricity, mechanism to produce. It could accomplish the movements of eyes, mouth, head, hand, tail, stomach breath, walking, laying an egg, [!!] seating and riding, and make voice.

In fact, the city of Zigong is full of companies that make animatronic or large-scale replica dinosaurs. There's also Zigong City Dragon Culture and Art Co. ("simulation skin grafting elaborate process is made available for tourists to view, play, all kinds of dinosaurs to the audience as if return to the Cretaceous era"), Jade Bamboo Culture Development ("Our vision... Leading people to walk into dinosaurs’ world, helping to make dinosaurs stand with you!"), and a dozen more. (Although some of them may not be totally independent companies--Zigong Hualong Art uses the same "Based on the original fossil" catalog copy as Zigong Gengulongteng Science and Technology) Why so many? I guess because Zigong is a really good place for dinosaurs in general--there are lots of fossils and even a museum there. ("As a famous saying goes, one finds a veritable nest of dinosaurs at Zigong.")

Okay, so that's giant animatronic dinosaurs. You can get similar, though less awesome, results with anything else. Not only finished products, but raw materials and intermediate parts, and the machines used to assemble them into finished products. Just browse the recently added products for ideas.

Automatic ketchup packing machine? Here it is, with pictures. Molybdenum? It's sold as sheets, plates, bars, powder, disks, wire, and custom-cast parts. Sodium benzoate? Minimum order 1 metric ton! Things not normally considered to be manufactured products, such as software development or voice dubbing? We've got that B-roll!

On the road between Bangalore and Mysore there's a town called Channapatna, and a big Lions Club-type sign declaring it "City of Toys". And here's a toy company from Channapatna on Alibaba: Kaveri Handicraft Industry. There are probably more, but it's tough to search for a specific city.

A couple more. The Shenzhen Dojust Painting Co. does custom paintings. Those anti-counterfeiting holographic stickers? They have to be manufactured, and the Dongguan Linbiao Anti-Fake Technology Co. manufactures them.

It's really amazing. My only complaint is not so much spam, as that it's difficult to restrict a product search to original manufacturers, so you get a lot of random resellers. (You can do a supplier search and restrict your search to original manufacturers, which is probably what I'd do if I wanted to buy anything.) It's a glimpse into a world you knew was there but didn't think much about apart from the occasional Bunnie Huang essay.

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Posted by Yatima at Sat Dec 25 2010 15:04

In "Country Driving" Peter Hessler describes traveling through the Chinese manufacturing towns that are wholly dedicated to a single product. He spends quite a lot of time in the bra-strap-ring territories. Fantastic book!

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