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The History of Radio Industry in China mainland

Jürgen Stichling Ernst Erb Thomas Albrecht Bernhard Nagel Eilert Menke 
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Forum » Manufacturer's / brands history » COUNTRYTEXTS (in the RADIO-MUSEUM) » The History of Radio Industry in China mainland
Ernst Erb
Ernst Erb
CH  Articles: 5692
Schem.: 13756
Pict.: 31072
18.Jul.10 22:45

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The History of Radio Industry in China

An overview about the different articles in the forum of

Our member Taili ZHANG (known also as "ZTL" in Chinese forums) has written several well researched articles about the history of radio industry in different Chinese provinces or cities. These articles do not start at the time of PRC but often before - at the beginning of China's radio history. He has published for years in different Chinese forums and started to be active here after I saw him in Beijing in Spring 2010.

In order that he can concentrate on new things he asked me to find people who can translate from Chinese into either English or German (or one of our "flagged languages"). This person can easily contact me with the
contact form - or as a member by looking up the member list.

The idea of this article is to let a reader follow through all of this kind of articles - maybe also written by other editors. This should become the top view of the framework.

Later we will publish here a map of China with its Provinces and big cities which played a major part in the radio industry in China and give some summaries about them. You will also find other links which lead to more knowledge about radio literature, special radio models, maybe also a list of brands and manufacturers etc. The general aspects in the radio years for China you find at the main text about China.

Here you find a story about how I see China in 2010, compared to India. It may be seen as an unbalanced picture - since it is only a glance from a holiday. It was also translated to Chinese by Paul Fok, HongKong.

At present it will only be a place to link together some articles realized and a place for some which are still only available in Chinese forums - in Chinese characters. Then we know what has to be done later. The articles will have a link to here.

List of Articles about Radio History for different Provinces and Cities in China

Shanghai (Original article in Chinese)

This is the place where the first broadcasting happened in China. Shanghai is still the most important port in China, maybe of the world. In the first decades of broadcast, Shanghai was also the city with the greatest radio industry.

See here how 无线电三厂 can also be written - also in a late document. The brand is in English "Metto" of 美多 for Meiduo (美 měi​ = America / beautiful, 多 duō​ = many, much).
Picture by courtesy of member Taili Zhang, Beijing.


Fujian Province

History articles made and pointed out by ZTL - to be translated later:


Jiangsu Province

Hubei Province


3 Provinces of Northeast China: Heilongjiang Province, Jilin Province and Liaoning Province

A number of provinces:
Shandong Province, Guangdong Province, Guangxi Autonomous Region,
Sichuan Province (include Chongqing) and Yunnan Province.

An other basket of provinces:
Anhui Province, Fujian Province, Hebei Province, Henan Province, Hunan Province, Jiangxi Province, Shanxi Province and Xinjiang Autonomous Region.

Above you find Fujian Province - which is the second part of this basket. For having shorter articles we extract each venue separately. It will be easier for the reader - if we list later also other things like the brands etc. for such an article.

Chinese Radio Manuals with Schematics

We know at the moment of about 30 radio manuals with schematics, sometimes also with other technical data, descriptions or pictures.

Here I build up a link list to descriptions for each schematic manual (also called atlas or book) we have details of. Sometimes these manuals show a number, indicating that it is a family of similar books, most don't. The manuals can be about a certain manufacturer or brand or a certain time or type of models - or a region etc. To have a unique number we use here a two digit numbering system. Each of the ones used gets an entry at the list of literature. This should be chosen if somebody creates new models form one - or finds models which are already up but without that reference. Sometimes a model gets several references or all references are already taken.

When scanning schematics from them or uploading then we first also bring in that manual to the list to choose from at the "Schematic Finder".

Manuals entered as Literature and in the Schematic Finder, Uploads done.
All manuals show in front the country (here PRC) for a quick finding when uploading schematics from or when looking for schematics.

01-Transistor Radio Manual, 1972 (2nd ed., 2nd print from 1983, 351 pages, 162 models)

09-Broadcast Radio Manual 1958-1 (91 pages, 25 tube radio models)

10-Broadcast Radio Manual 1958/59 (306 pages, 155 tube radios)

Manuals not yet prepared
If possible we scan the front of the manual and list the models contained there in a thread per manual. Here you will find the links to such manuals.

We show a thread here about some Chinese literature etc. in general. 

02-Radio Manual, no date (380 pages) Creation of models and upload schematics in progress.
Not quality, but good source for new models (359 models).

11-Radio Manual 1965 (No.2, green, 220 pages, ca. 104 models, mainly tube radios)
(Scan by Taili Zhang, ZTL)

16-Radio Manual Shanghai No.2 Radio Factory, 1981 (71 pages, 24 models, different years)
(Scan by Taili Zhang, ZTL)

19-Shanghai 101 Factory, 1981: 58 pages for 26 models from 1970 to 1981 of this factory only.
(Scan by Taili Zhang, ZTL)

This article was edited 11.Aug.10 19:47 by Ernst Erb .

Ernst Erb
Ernst Erb
CH  Articles: 5692
Schem.: 13756
Pict.: 31072
19.Jul.10 09:07

Count of Thanks: 11
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China's naming of manufacturers

and brands

We face a difficult situation about naming the radios and the manufacturers in China. For some things we have different possible ways to name a manufacturer or a model - and we will have to try to do it as the majority in China does. We can differentiate at least 3 problems:

1 Naming the right company
2 Naming the company the right way
3 Naming the model

Here I present the problems faced - and reasons for the chosen solution.

Naming the right company

Having documentation of the manufacturer it is easy to find the manufacturer's name -
and most often also the brand and model name.
Picture by courtesy of ZTL.

To make it short I bring a simple case - but already with its conflict with evolving a second manufacturer.

Typical example of different naming of the same manufacturer:

Fuzhou Telecommunications Equipment Factory opened on May 25, 1958,after it began to produce Fuzhou-brand radio and Camellia-brand radios, Camellia-brand GS-1 included.

In 1960, Fuzhou Telecommunications Equipment Factory changed to Fuzhou Wireless Factory. That was the time when for instance model GS-1 was made. They went on manufacturing radios etc. In 1965 was the print of this manual!

In February 1966, Fuzhou Wireless Factory changed to Fujian Wireless Factory, moved to Nanping, and changed to produce other electronic products, except radios.

Other company formed
At about the same time Fuzhou City has rebuilt Fuzhou Wireless Factory on the foundation of former workshop. Some workers stayed, but this is now another entity. It continued to develop and produce transistor radios.

In 1970 this name was changed to Fuzhou 1st Wireless Factory.

In 1984 it changed the name to Fuzhou Radio Instrument General-Factory. See "The History of Radio Industry in Fujian Province".

Another problem:

Since we would like to find the model easily in the database by typing what we find on a model, we should name the manufacturer as it was named on the set. On the other hand: Mostly we create models systematically by reading China's schematic manuals. We then get the name from there. Fortunately Chinese collectors don't care normally for the manufacturer and do search by the brand and name. We still need a solution. And we would like to chain possible manufacturers with several names (at the same time or during the time) to have an overview of the whole life of a manufacturer's products.

Several ways are possible - but only one seems to work: We write what we find and as we find it. Sometimes we will even find names in traditional Chinese, not simplified characters.

Solution in the future:

We have to generate another table in the database and do some programming which takes time - to form a common base for a manufacturer. In other words we will have to write the different names in a new field for a given manufacturer plus a "main name" so that we can bring together automatically all products of the same manufacturer during the different times and cover different methods of writing the same name - like adding the word City or Province etc. or not to include in the name. Ambiguous writings for the same manufacturer are even possible on the company prints.

Naming the company the right way:
Radio versus Wireless

You see here the old writing of Nanjing and 收音机. By courtesy of ZTL.

This is a minor matter because the wording comes almost at the end of the name. I first tended to go the scientific way, to name a company as it is correctly translated. I entered about 100 names this way but I will change them to the naming which is preferred by Chinese users and is even sometimes used by the manufacturer itself: "Radio Manufacturer" instead of "Wireless Manufacturer" as term for the Chinese term: 无线电厂 Pinying: wú​ xiàn ​diàn chǎng​ (Wu Xian Dian Chang), traditional:無線電廠. This means really "Wireless Manufacturer":
无 (trad. 無) = -less / not to have / no / none / not / to lack / un-
线 (trad. 線) = thread / string / wire / line / CL: 條|条, 股, 根
电 (trad. 電) = electric / electricity / electrical
厂 (trad. 廠) = factory / yard / depot / workhouse / works / (industrial) plant

The seldom used name, 收音机 is clear "Radio" or "Receiver" (收 to receive 音 sound 机 machine-aircraft). Pinying (Mandarin) shōu ​yīn ​jī, trad. 收音機. Example is 江苏省 常州市 收音机厂 (Jiangsusheng Changzhoushi Radio Factory)

I did write a fact sheet with all aspects like China had "wired radios" with quite some history we will tell about. But this would be too manyfold and long for here. One is that also Google translates as "Radio" and that Radio is the better known term for a wireless set.

In both occasions we write "Radio", not "Wireless" for 无线电

This is accepted by all Chinese radio friends I asked (and was discussed in a forum).

Here we have the case that it is "Radio" but for 无线电厂 ("Wireless").
See also the term Peking for Beijing.
By courtesy of our member Taili Zhang, Beijing (ZTL).


Naming the administrative divisions of China

Specially for non Chinese readers it would be interesting to know where the manufacturer is or was producing. The constitution of the PRC provides for three de jure levels of government. Currently, however, there are five practical de facto levels of local government: the province, prefecture, county, township, and village.

Some cities are well known and some would be hard to find. We began first with naming the Province first - but prectically this is not the case on documents or models. Therefore we changed to name the city first where this applies. We will add the province in brackets after the city, followed by a short way of bringing in also the geographical region like North (N), Northeast (NE), East (E), South Central (SC), South West (SW), North West (NW) and South Central (SC). The situation of each municipy or province is given here in detail.


Naming the model

The biggest problem is that we often don't know how the model is named in the first place and if there are versions with an English name for export or not. Normally we have at least the Chinese characters, e.g. 熊猫 for Xióng​ māo. ​

First model name field = brand.
Second model name field = "name" of the model, mostly a number combination.
Variant: = ONLY used in case:
Brand and name are completely the same for the same manufacturer!

Syntax first field (brand):
If possible the brand or name which is best read on the model in Pinyin or characters - be written first in Pinyin without accents! (or English if it is in English), followed by the Characters - normally simplified. If the model has it in trad. Chinese then we should use both.

If we know that the same model is printed in Pinying for the domestic market and in English for export, we have two solutions: Either use both names - like:
Xiongmao 熊猫 Panda or Hongdeng 红灯 Red lantern
or we create two models - since they show a different face, perhaps even have some other differences.

Brands and Manufacturers

We have to keep in mind that many brands can also be used by many different manufacturers. Only later we might be able to list the different manufacturers for a brand or the different brands for a manufacturer. For that we will create a new table.

We can not expect that a member who uploads a new model has read this and we will have to face many differences to this - but we will try to keep these rules - also by correcting errors of others.

What comes on top and will even be lesser used is that we first enter a schematic manual in the table of literature (done by me when being asked for or when I get to know of) - to choose the reference - for having later a full list of references about a certain literature. We can even use as a selection in the "Fully detailed Model Search" for members only. With this one can select by about 30 different fields of selection.

At last we also have to enter a literature we choose from for when uploading schematics - for having good results with the "Schematic Finder". Quality has its price! RMorg is not a village where you find the "interesting place(s) by just going out of the house - but a big "Radio City" where you need street maps - which we provide in the form of the blue "Info-Help-Buttons" you can click at the top right of each page!

This article was edited 05.Aug.10 18:01 by Ernst Erb .