To our surprise we heard during a recent visit to China about cocoa plantation in the south, on the Hainan island.

Hainan, an island in the South China Sea off the coast of China's Guangdong Province, covers an area of 34,000 square kilometers (this is approximately the size of Belgium). Before 1988, when the island obtained provincial status, it was part of Guangdong Province. The island has a mountainous inland with dense forests. The highest peak, Mount Wuzhi, rises to 1,867 meters above sea level. The coastal regions consist of plains, low hills, and volcanic terraces. The island has a tropical climate, with average temperatures of 22° to 26°C all year, but in extreme cases in the northern part of the island, temperatures may drop to 0°C. Annual precipitation varies; the western parts have an average of 1,000 millimeters, while the southeast, which is frequently hit by typhoons, averages 1,500 to 2,600 millimeters.


Hainan has a population of 7.14 million (1996), 12.8 percent of which belong to the indigenous Li nationality. Another important minority nationality is the Miao. The province's capital, Haikou (406,000, 1996), is situated on the north shore of Hainan, and there are several autonomous counties and townships mainly concentrated in the middle of the island and on the south coast.

Since the Han dynasty period (206 BC-220 AD), the island has nominally been part of the Chinese empire, but for long periods, the Li evaded government control. During the Song dynasty (960-1279), when immigration from the mainland began, the island became part of Guangdong Province, a status that continued for centuries except for brief periods-during the Yuan dynasty (1267-1368) and in 1912-1921- when Hainan enjoyed independent provincial status. In imperial China, undesirable officials were commonly exiled to the island. Hainan was occupied by the Japanese from 1939 to 1945, and since 1950 the island has been part of the People's Republic of China.

Hainan is the only part of China with tropical crops. Forestry accounts for almost half of the agricultural output; Hainan has a big rubber production and coconut farming. Other important tropical crops include coffee, pepper, cashew nuts, cacao, pineapples, bananas, carambolas, longans, litchis, and jackfruits. As one of China's special economic zones, Hainan attracted foreign investments and underwent rapid economic growth in the 1990s. The economy is mainly based on light industry and tourism. Industries are concentrated in the area around Haikou, and industrial products include processed rubber and food, electronic articles, and textiles. The tourist industry is located on the south coast in the area around Sanya.


What is Feng Shui?

I learned this from a book

Feng Shui is the art of harmonising the universal energy in the home.
It is a centuries-old Tibetan and Chinese science. It is based on the observation of universal laws which organise nature in order to balance these fundamental forces by the way a home is decorated and arranged.
It governs all the elements involved in decorating a house from the positioning of the furniture to the shape of decorative objects, colour combinations, materials used and in an essential way the symbolism with which each interior space is endowed. By modifying the furnishing of the house we instantly displace the universal air currents which move from room to room. Vibration in the space is heightened and harmony seems to descend on the place, allowing inhabitants to gain a new perspective on their intimate environment, which in turn will act on their unconscious. The home is, in fact, like the body; and thus it filters and stimulates our psychic relationship with the world surrounding us which is unique . When we move house, we decorate our interior according to our tastes, choose colours, place each object in a certain position and not another in symbiosis with our physical structure. The (often unconscious) result of this relationship is an adjustment to the mapping of our psyche reflected by the re-arrangement of our home area by area. Becoming conscious of this natural interaction and stimulating it by using it as a kind of trampoline, can transform the lives of inhabitants in a sort of mirror effect: from affairs of the heart to business affairs, from health to children, from work to play, from communication to personal development.

I recently was able to learn more during a meal in China.

How to succeed in business

During our trip to China we were able to learn the basic principles that must be respected if you are to have a house where people feel good and which, at the same time, helps you succeed in business

The principles be respected are found along a north-south and east-west axis.

Cities, companies and houses follow the same principles.

A city is best situated between a mountain in the north and a river in the south

The river is a positive element helping money flow in and the mountain stops the riches leaving again.

In the case of a house, a wall or a structure in the garden will act as a barrier in the north.

The door opens on to the street in the south. Money will flow in through it and will be retained by the wall. It will therefore remain in the house, assuring the proprietor of success.

The east side is where the sun rises and where life begins. The west is where the sun sets - the side which offers protection.

The kitchen must be placed on the east side to ensure healthy food. The fish pond should also be placed in the east as well as the bedrooms. It is not advised to have a skylight above the bed because it is oppressive and stops you sleeping. The bedroom faces south in order to benefit from refreshing breezes coming from this direction. The bathroom should also be on the eastern side of the house. On the western side of the house should be the cellars, store rooms, the sitting room, drawing groom and dining room. Weapons to protect the house should also be placed in the west.

Based on all these elements we can draw up a sort of ideal plan for a house where it feels good to live and which should allow the occupants to make money

Choco-Story, the Bruges chocolate museum hopes that you find this information helps you to live a happy and prosperous life and thanks the team from Puratos China which represents Belcolade for this explanation.