Fierce market competition and the stress of trying to find jobs for unemployed workers drove the vice-general manager of the biggest state firm in Wenzhou to take his own life, a newspaper reports. . On the morning of June 23, two workers at the Wenzhou Oriental Group discovered the body of Zhu Yunlong hanging from a beam on the ceiling in his office, with a suicide note nearby, the 21st Century Business Herald said yesterday. The autopsy gave the cause of death as 'suicide due to long-term depression'. Wenzhou Oriental is an anomaly in Wenzhou, a port in the eastern province of Zhejiang and the most capitalist city in China. Wenzhou is dominated by private companies making light-industrial goods they sell throughout the country and the world. Wenzhou Oriental is one of the few state companies left in the city, whose government announced in February 2001 it was selling its interests in 146 remaining state firms. More than 90 per cent had been sold to their managers, workers or outside investors. But the size of Wenzhou Oriental made it the most difficult case. Its assets include a shipyard employing 2,000 people, a plant making glass tubes, a pharmaceutical factory and a market for selling lanterns made by the city's many lantern plants. Zhu, 43, faced problems in all these sectors. With more bridges being built in Zhejiang, the demand for boats has fallen and the profit on small boats is low. Competition in the glass tube and pharmaceutical sectors is intense, with private manufacturers having substantially lower production costs. The 50,000 square metre lantern market, which opened in 1993, was initially a big success, with sales rising from 300 million yuan (HK$281.16 million) that year to a peak of three billion in 1997. All the vendors in the market are private firms who pay rent to Wenzhou Oriental. But in 1998 Guzhen township in Zhongshan, Guangdong, opened a rival market with substantially lower rents and drew away much of the business. Sales in the Wenzhou market dropped to lower than two billion yuan last year. In the first quarter, Wenzhou Oriental announced it was withdrawing from glass-making and pharmaceuticals to concentrate on real estate, high technology and education.