By Benjamin Cost
For many, getting laid-off calls for a six-pack of Bud and some Toby Keith country tunes at full blast. But not for Wuhan’s Zhang Wuyi, who after being dropped from a textile machinery factory, now builds and sells mini-submarines for a living, selling his vessels for 200,000RMB per sub.
Offbeat China reports:
The mini submarine startup has already got more than 10 employees, including Zhang Wuyi, the Director, and a couple of engineers and workers. Their only office is in a classroom-size room with 5 desks, an outdated computer, no AC and not even windows – they use a red plastic cloth to keep out the wind.
In an interview with Wuhan Wanbao, Zhang said when he first saw the work of Li Yuming, the first man in China who ever built a submarine from scratch, he thought the idea of a submarine studio was a joke. Now Zhang uses Li’s fin tail patent on all his mini submarines
And despite looking like prop rejects from a high school remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the submersibles prove themselves to be engineering marvels with robotic claws that can grab and hoist, emergency oxygen reserves, and advanced underwater cams. They can even dive up to 30 meters and torpedo along at 20 kilometers per hour for 10 hours all while housing two passengers – features which make the subs ideal for scouring riverbeds for garbage and/or fish.
The subs have attracted 3 buyers already this year, including a sea cucumber fisherman who’s saved money by purchasing one of Zhang’s subs instead of hiring professional divers. He claims it handles a bit like a car, but jerkier.
While we won’t be riding one of these little “Red Octobers” down to the Mariana trench anytime soon, they stand as an inspiration for budding Chinese dreamers and engineers everywhere, who have generally treated their creations as passion projects, rather than as business opportunities.
Related: Henan welder pimps out oil tank to survive 2012
(h/t Hao Hao Report)