Xinle, Hebei province, a major production base for electric blankets for heating beds during winter, is busy as the weather becomes colder.
The city, with 56 major blanket producers, sells about 7 million such blankets each year, accounting for about 40 percent of the country's total, according to Zhang Haibo, head of the city's bureau for market regulation.
Among the blankets sold, around 36 percent were exported to foreign countries, including Russia, the United States, Japan and Chile.
More than 11,000 residents of neighboring villages are employed at blanket-making companies, Zhang said.
The industry started developing in the city in the 1970s when an entrepreneur made electric blankets on a small scale at a family workshop.
By 1989, there were 67 factories and workshops making blankets in Xinle, and the number reached 127 by 2000, Zhang said.
At present, a bottleneck restricting the development of electric blankets in the city is that the technology of the products is relatively low, with no obvious competitive advantages, he added.
"For the next step, we will aim at the transformation toward digital and intelligent products and guiding enterprises to increase their efforts in scientific research and innovation," he said.