It's like a scene from a horror movie. A door opens into a dark room, and in the beam of a torch, you see them. Hundreds of cockroaches, crawling up the side of cupboards, and on the floor.
It's about to get worse.
Breeding Manager Ying Xiong walks in and, empty-handed, pulls a cardboard square from a long row of shelves. She drops it into a large bowl on the ground, which appears to explode in a bright brown whirlpool.
Thousands of cockroaches run away.
They rush up his arms and onto his back. There is one in his ear. They slip into their white lab coat.
"At first I was scared, but I got used to it," he says calmly.
The cockroaches, uniform in size, have reached the door and are falling from the door frame to the hallway floor.
"It's like a family pet in our house," he continues. “She's cute, she never bites. It is not as horrible as people imagine ”.
We are talking about Periplaneta Americana, or the American cockroach, and we are standing inside the largest cockroach factory in the world, in the town of Xichang, in the Sichuan Mountain.
I have been told that there are at least 3.6 billion cockroaches hiding in racks in rooms along this corridor.
News of the cockroach-breeding factory's existence caused a sensation on social media last week, after a Hong Kong newspaper took up a research paper and reported (with a slight exaggeration) that the company was using artificial intelligence. to manage a roach colony larger than the world's human population.
The dazed mind - what if they escaped?
Fu Neng Geng, the president of Good Doctor, a Chinese medicine and health products company, has invited Fairfax Media and Hong Kong newspaper for us to take a rare look at ourselves. You want to sort the internet myth from reality.
The reality is also mind-boggling.
This is the only government certified cockroach laboratory in the world. The artificial intelligence system that the company has developed with Zhejiang University will not be put into practice until next year, when a new laboratory is built.
Cockroach production is expected to triple, he says.