South China's Guangdong Province has shut down all of its 130 fireworks businesses amid safety concerns and to satisfy new government regulations.
The province destroyed 1.65 million yuan (US$206,250) of fireworks materials and semi-manufactured products during the shutdown. It also purchased 46 million yuan (US$5.75 million) of finished fireworks products.
Of the businesses, 12 closed themselves down of their own accord, 23 moved to other provinces, 12 others turned to other trades and the rest are planning to shift for making other products, sources with the Guangdong Provincial Administration for Work Safety said.
Fireworks industry is prone to fatal accidents and such businesses in Guangdong usually operate in cramped conditions with backward technology, the sources said, adding that the industrial output value of fireworks businesses only accounts for a small proportion of the province's GDP.
The shutdown was also in line with a regulation on the production, transport and sale of fireworks and firecrackers issued earlier this year by the State Council.
Currently, China has about 7,000 fireworks production businesses and 140,000 sales businesses with 1.5 million employed.
However, many of the fireworks factories are still primitive with poor production conditions.
Statistics released by the State Administration for Work Safety show that from 1985 to November 2005, there were 8,532 fireworks accidents, which left 9,349 people dead.
(Xinhua News Agency June 3, 2006)