Turtle power propels Qinzhou

Updated: 2013-11-27 09:54

By Li Yang in Qinzhou, Guangxi (China Daily)

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Turtle power propels Qinzhou

Chen Xingqian, 56, made his fortune by raising turtles in Qinzhou, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Huo Yan / China Daily

An advertisement with the tagline "Raising turtles can make you a fortune" changed an orange farmer's life.

Turtle power propels Qinzhou

"My life has an unbreakable bond with turtles," 56-year-old Chen Xingqian says.

He saw the small poster in Nanning railway station in 1981, when he was on a business trip to the capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

He paid 360 yuan ($60), nearly eight months of his salary, for a one-day training session on breeding turtles and received six small water turtles as the "starting capital" of his business. His friends and family were skeptical.

A year later, however, a relative from Hong Kong visited him, bringing encouraging news - the six turtles he raised were worth more than HK$10,000 ($1,290) in the Hong Kong market, because local people believed drinking turtle soup was good for health.

Turtle power propels Qinzhou

Aspirational artist 

Turtle power propels Qinzhou

Watching the water 

Chen became more steadfast about his choice. Caring for the six turtles became his priority after work each day. He bought small fish and shrimp from the nearby fishing port to feed his six "babies".

The six turtles started laying eggs four years later and allowed him to make some serious money when sold in Hong Kong with the help of his relatives. The money was the equivalent of several years of income from Chen's farm work.

In 1986, he quit his job and committed all of his money and time to breeding and raising turtles. By the early 1990s, he was one of the most famous millionaire turtle breeders in Qinzhou.

His wife's skepticism disappeared and she offered to help with the business. The whole family was mobilized and invited to participate in the venture.

The original six turtles are still alive today and live among the 100,000 edible turtles in his five turtle farms in Qinzhou.

With the Chinese mainland's rapid development, Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces have become Chen's main target markets after Hong Kong, with strong demand in these areas since the late 1990s.

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