Monday, March 23, 2015

China’s rural villagers love building their own submarines

Zhang Wuyi sits in his newly made, multi-seater submarine near an artificial pool in Wuhan, Hubei province, in this photograph from November 2012.

By Laura He
23 March 2015

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Looks like it’s becoming a trend: Chinese villagers are building home-made submarines.
A villager in northwestern Chinese province of Shaanxi has become the latest countryside hobbyist to try to build his own fully functioning submarine — a more-than-18-ton craft that when completed, will dive as deep as 100 feet below the water’s surface, according to a Monday report in the Chinese Business View.
The subnautical enthusiast, a 53-year-old high-school-dropout named Du Xiutang, said he was motivated by a report in 1992 that Russia had sold a scrap submarine to China at a high price.
“We have to build the most advanced submarine in the world by ourselves, and can’t let ourselves come under the control of others,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
Du studied submarine design on his own and reportedly invented three technologies for his small sub, for which he has obtained patents, including a hydraulic steering system.
He started building the submarine in August last year, throwing in all of his family’s savings and whatever money he could borrow for a total amount of over 300,000 yuan ($48,000), the report said. But Du says that he still needs more money to complete the sub, and he’s offering a share of the patents and the submarine itself as he seeks to raise funds.
At least he can take heart from the fact that several other villagers from elsewhere in China already have their own homemade submarines up and running.
Zhang Wuyi of Hubei province is perhaps the most famous sub hobbyist, having made some seven mini subs — usable for aquaculture tasks, such as harvesting sea cucumber — according to reports.
Likewise, Tan Yong , a 44-year-old villager from another part of the same province, launched a sub of his own last October, christened “The Jubilant,” covered with much fanfare by broadcaster Nanning TV.
Tan told the reporters he built the submarine merely to fulfill his dream to “take a look in the world in the water.”

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