As Africa’s economy grows, the market for human hair is growing, according to an AFP video.
Long, black and lucrative: sacks bulging with human hair spill onto the streets of a rural county in China, where traders have helped make China the world’s biggest exporter of hair products, AFP reports.
The hair products are destined for Europe, America and Africa.
Because the volume of hair is so high, people call it black gold. Twenty-inch cuts can fetch $1000 a kilogram.
Taihe in the Eastern Chinese province of Anhui has more than 400 hair workshops, and local authorities are planning to build an industrial park dedicated to hair products.
Fu Qianwei, 36, owns Anna, a company with export sales of $7.8 million, mostly to the U.S. He employs more than 200 full-time staff, according to the DailyMail.
“Each country has different demands on length, thickness and quality,” Fu said. “As Africa’s economy grows, the market is growing and moving towards higher quality. Because the value of hair is so high, people call it black gold.”
The trade of human hair earned China $90 million in 2012, AFP reports. Mostly female workers thread the hair into wigs and hair extensions. Dealers trade hair collected from as far away as Myanmar, Vietnam Uzbekistan.