CHANGSHA/HANGZHOU, May 1 (Xinhua) -- One of world's biggest industrialized countries, China is home to millions of workers.
As International Workers' Day comes, Xinhua talks to three people who work in heavy industries, with stories that are representative of life in China.
Born in a remote village in central China's Hunan Province, Zeng Yanmei has turned herself into a senior engineer with CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd.
Zeng has designed the bogies of railway and metro trains for the past 18 years helping "Made by China" trains to run safely and smoothly across the world.
The bogie is essentially the chassis of a train.
"Different trains and locations have different bogie requirements. We always need to come up with something new. Each innovation is a new challenge for us," she said.
Zeng loves to do impossible things. Led by her, the team which designed the A-type metro bogie has set a world speed record of 120 km/h. She also designed a bogie adapted to high temperatures in Africa.
The products and technology developed by Zeng's team have made more than 5 billion yuan for the company, with knock-on effects in industries such as steel and electronics.
Zeng's daughter describes her as a "workaholic who does not know how to dress."
When she finishes any design, she is immediately in the workshop, talking with workers and modifying her plan based on their feedback.
When she goes on business trip, she tries every kind of rail transit she can and is often very critical of what she finds.
"I won't forget where I am from. I will do more for China's rail transit by overcoming design difficulties," said Zeng.
Chen Qifu, 39, believes that his career life epitomizes China's steel industry in the 21st century.
When he started work at a steel plant in Lian, Hunan province in 1996, his job was taking care of the boiler, spending days in the deafening noise and covered in grime. "When I went back home after a day's hard work, I was covered with dust and my parents could barely recognize me," he recalled.
The steel industry has been transformed and Chen with it. He never stopped working but commuted to the provincial capital Changsan by sleeper train and eventually got himself a master's degree from Central South University.
During the past 18 years, Chen has taken part in more than 30 research and development programs. He has helped the factory reduce power consumption and save millions of yuan each year.
In recent years, the over-supplied steel sector has been on a long downward spiral and output is being slashed.
"At this time, we must refine our products so as to win against fierce competition," Chen said.
His company, Valin Steel, partnered with ArcelorMittal to form an auto sheet manufacturer. "By improving our technique, we can make 1,500 types of new steel sheets that are three times stronger than traditional products," he said.
"The job of steel workers is no longer simply hard labor," he said. "We need always to improve ourselves so as to keep pace with the competition."
Just by listening to the sound of the operation, Wu Guolin can roughly work out what is wrong with the machine. For the 58-year-old engineer with Hangzhou Steam Turbine Co., Ltd., assembling a turbine is like creating a work of art and deserves utmost dedication.
Carrying the title of National Model Worker, Wu is a leading engineer in the field of advanced industrial steam turbine assembly and debugging, and the technology of testing run of engines.
There is no easy road to excellence. "You need to endure hardship in order to do your work well," Wu said.
During the first years of Wu's career, he often stayed in the workshop until late in the night, practicing assembling and getting to know the use of different tools.
Even today, after assembling over 100 steam turbine units, Wu has not stopped learning. "There are no set rules for assembling steam turbines as they are all different. There are always new skills for us to learn," he said.