Taihu’s factory is located in the town of Zhenze, on the banks of the Taihu River—the silk-making hub of China—and is surrounded by hundreds of other small and large silk-related enterprises. Taihu stands out as one of the largest and most established. The factory opened in 2002 and has expanded to become much more than a factory.
Today, Taihu is part production center, part museum, part recreation area. Inside is the aforementioned silk factory, with workers pulling silk sheets and hauling boxes for delivery around China and abroad. There is also a comprehensive history of the silk-making industry in the area and a step-by-step introduction to the silk-making process—from cocoon to five-star hotel bedspread. An exquisitely adorned gift shop leads to a small café selling all manner of mulberry products. Outside, guests will find charming mulberry tree-lined fields with a small petting zoo and multiple stations for barbecuing. On this chilly late November day, there were still plenty of families hanging out.
All told, the Taihu Snow Silk Factory is a super-impressive example of a full-service, vertically integrated Chinese factory. While for many “Chinese factory” may conjure up images of endless assembly lines and tightly packed work environments, Taihu is anything but. Anyone passing through Suzhou would do well to stop by.