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Mawei Shipyard: Once No. 1 shipyard in Far East, it fell into disrepair before formation of PRC, and is now a dead tree in spring

The "Peony Society Incident" by Japan in 1874 had a great impact on China's coastal defense, so Chinese coastal defense industry began to develop by leaps and bounds. A year later, Li Hongzhang began to build Beiyang Fleet. He gradually stopped shipbuilding funds of Jiangnan Production Bureau and spent more money to purchase warships from major powers, which led to closure of Jiangnan Production Bureau shipyard for more than 20 years. years. At this time, Mawei Shipyard became main force of domestic shipyards.

To solve problem of backward technology in shipyards, Shen Baozhen sent five students from Shipbuilding Academy, Wei Han, Chen Zhaoao, Chen Zitong, Liu Buchan, and Lin Taizeng, to study in France in 1875. Later, Academy of Shipping sent three groups of students to study in Europe. The facts proved that Shen Baozhen was prudent: back in China, these students "fought to preserve Northern and Southern Oceans in first place and feared that they would be last", and became backbone of main naval forces of Qing Empire. Dynasty.

After 1874, Mawei shipyard stopped relying on foreigners to build Chinese-designed ships and gradually began to produce armored warships. Since 1875, Mawei shipyard began to independently design and build Yixin, and construction was completed in 1886, making a leap in domestic ship design and construction technology. At same time, Shen Baozhen decided to build an armored ship by himself and successfully built Weiyuan and Chaou. Since then, tonnage of ships built by Mawei Shipyard has increased significantly, with maximum tonnage reaching 2,400 tons.

During Battle of Majiang in 1884, Mawei shipyard was badly damaged. After end of Sino-French War, as UK began to build more advanced steel-skinned ships, Shipping Bureau also immediately sent specialists such as Wei Han overseas to purchase ship materials and steel-skinned materials and research technology of steel-skinned ships. steel. After three years of hard work, Bureau of Ship Management finally produced in 1887 first domestic steel battleship, Pingyuan. Of course, due to still backward technology, Pingyuan ship has not reached advanced level in terms of speed, but this is also a big improvement.

According to statistics, Mawei Shipyard produced a total of more than 40 ships of Qing Dynasty, many of which became main battleships of Beiyang fleet.

Three, from dusk to spring with a dead tree

After 1990s, Mawei Shipyard gradually fell into disrepair, which is also an important manifestation of failure of Westernization movement. The fundamental reason for decline of Mawei shipyard is still a systemic problem. Although Qing dynasty carried out Westernization movement, it has not yet adopted modernized business philosophy of West, and still manages enterprises in a state-run manner, which leads to financial difficulties and severe bureaucracy.

Similar to shipbuilding bureau, Jiangnan production bureau also faced a crisis after 1990s, but Jiangnan production bureau faced a nobleman. In 1904, Zhou Fu, governor of Liangjiang, was determined to revive shipyard by adopting method of "dividing dock and turning it into commercial operation" in order to separate Jiangnan Shipyard from Headquarters and move to commercial operation, which finally Jiangnan Shipyard became prosperous and became a Chinese shipyard, largest shipyard in modern times.

Training before shipping administration

The mess at Mawei shipyard was left alone. In 1896, Qing government sent commissioners to introduce commercial reforms to Mawei shipyards, but to no avail. By 1907, Mawei shipping bureau had completely stopped production.

After formation of Republic of China, Mawei Shipping Bureau came under Ministry of Navy and was renamed Fuzhou Shipping Bureau. In 1915, Chen Zhaoqiang became director of bureau, who transferred Shipbuilding Academy to Ministry of Navy, so Fuzhou Shipping Bureau specialized in production of ships. At that time, Bureau of Ship Management was still struggling, and there were few orders. In 1916 and 1917, only two gunboats "Haihun" and "Haihu" were built.

Just at time when shipbuilding business was dying, Shipping Bureau actually started building airplanes. It turned out that in 1915, when First World War broke out in Europe and US aviation industry was developing rapidly, Liu Guanxiong (from Fujian), head of Beiyang fleet, selected 10 people to study aviation in US. . Among them, Baiuzao, Wang Zhu, Zeng Yijing, and Wang Xiaofeng, "Four King Kongs" (graduates of Qing Dynasty Naval Academy), received their master's degree in aeronautical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in just one year.

After graduation, domestic military leaders fight, and four of them are useless, so they work in USA. Among them, Wang Zhu was chief engineer of Boeing Company and developed Type C seaplane, which allowed Boeing to gain a foothold in world. Wang Zhu was also known as "the first Boeing engineer."

After taking over Mawei shipyard, Chen Zhaoqiang immediately opened a Navy diving flight school, which required foreign students to return to China. Therefore, Baiujiao, Wang Zhu, Zeng Yijing, and Wang Xiaofeng, "Four King Kongs," refused generous US bonuses and resolutely returned to their homeland. But complexity of manufacturing seaplanes in China is unimaginable, because there are no advanced equipment and sufficient funds. However, thanks to hard work of Four King Kongs and active support of Chen Zhaoqiang, Mawei shipyard successfully built China's first Type A floatplane in 1919. Later, plant produced aircraft "B", "C", "D", "E", "J" and other types of aircraft.

Originally, Mawei Shipyard was supposed to take advantage of seaplane industry to achieve fame, but unexpectedly it became afterglow of Mawei Shipyard's sunset. During period of Nanjing National Government, main managers and technical personnel of Mawei shipyard were transferred to Jiangnan shipyard, including development of seaplanes. The Mawei shipyard has begun to turn into a shell shipyard.

At beginning of founding of New China, Mawei shipyard was already abandoned and overgrown with weeds, leaving only a rusty engine shop and a dock full of mud. Due to fact that shipyard was completely destroyed, New China was not able to restore it, instead, a museum was built on site of Mawei shipyard and began to engage in tourism.

But do we really want to sit back and watch Mawei shipyard die? answer is negative. As China moves towards a renaissance, Mawei Shipyard will naturally also move towards a renaissance. After founding of New China, Mawei Shipyard began to produce ships for homeland again. After reform and opening, Mawei Shipyard gradually connected with world, began to build giant ships, and entered international market. Today, Mawei Shipyard is capable of designing and building ships over 30,000 tons and has become an important manufacturing base in south of country.

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