Zibo, a city famous for ceramic products, is now setting its sights on developing another time-honored resource, colored glass, to diversify its local industries.
Last year, the output from Zibo's colored glass industry surpassed 3.5 billion yuan, an increase of 32 percent compared to the preceding year, making the city the largest production base for colored glass in China.
Zibo's connection with glass dates back to as early as the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) when the area around Boshan, now a district administrated by Zibo, was one of the major production areas for glass.
Boshan's glass products were further enriched during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), when glass products were glazed with gorgeous colors and sold across China. This period also saw the popularity of colored glass grow among royal families and businessmen, which led to the formation of four colored-glass groups across China. One of them was the Lu Group, which derived its name from a short form name for Shandong province and was represented by Boshan.
Now Boshan has around 57,000 artists and technicians working in the ceramics and colored-glass industries. They now produce 15 categories of glass products, covering more than 10,000 colors and shapes, and these products are sold to more than 30 countries and regions, including the United States, South Korea and Japan.
The glass products made in Boshan can be seen at China's renowned buildings, such as the Olympic Stadium and the Beijing National Aquatics Center.
Due to Boshan's achievements in colored glass, the China National Light Industry Council in 2006 named Boshan the Hometown of China's Colored Glass Industry.
In 2009, the colored glass products made at Boshan earned the national geographical trademark from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce due to their quality and rich styles.
To date, some 40 painted glass products have won gold prizes in international competitions, and thousands of products have been on display in countries overseas, including Germany, Switzerland, and the United States.