Chaos in China as snow storms close factories

Worst weather in 50 years cripples China, bike factories included
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500,000 people - many of them migrant workers - are stuck outside Guangzhou railway station, stranded because of snow storms. Tens of millions of other travellers are unable to get home for Chinese New Year, the biggest holiday of the year.

Highways have been blocked, with 20,000 vehicles stranded on one expressway, reported Chinese news agency Xinhua.

The snowstorms started in mid-January and have now affected 80 million people across fourteen provinces.

Southern China is worst hit by the storms, including the Guangdong province, China's most important manufacturing region, home to the Chinese bicycle industry.

An industry source said: "Heavy snow has meant the closure of bike factories. Local businesses have suffered roof collapses as 12" of snow has fallen. There are also component vendors that have been affected, which we are still gathering more details on. There are power outages due to downed lines. In addition, local governments are closing highways, due to lack of snow removal equipment.

"Bottom line is that factories are temporarily shut down, or have reduced production capacity."

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