International brands reboot business at night market in Chengdu

Authors: CGTN

2020-07-14

The international service industry in Chengdu is seeking to restart after the pandemic put business on hold for months.

Business owners set up stalls at one of the city's largest international communities over the weekend to prove they still have a lot to offer. Street vendors from all parts of town took to the streets to sell goods and services; from tasty local cold noodles to even paying to pet an exotic pet!

For die-hard fans of Jay Chou, the night had an unexpected bonus in store – a vintage convertible lent to the singer as a prop in the MV of his latest hit, Mojito.

Vintage convertible, collection of Sanhe Classic Car Museum. /LAOWAI HERE

Twenty-six stalls selling products from 12 countries attracted over 2,000 visitors on Saturday in the Tongzilin community.

Stelios, owner of local Greek restaurant, said he didn't expect so many customers and had to hand out coupons after the servings ran out.

Same popularity was witnessed at Masha's flower stall, where hand-made bouquets were sold out in just hours.

Food and flower stalls at the market. /LAOWAI HERE

LAOWAI HERE, an international HR and life service platform, hosted the street market.

Oli Liao, market director of the agency, said most of the stall owners at the market have lived and worked in Chengdu for many years. Some even chose to stay behind and join the city's efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic. He said it's time for the community to pay back its loyal members.

He also said such activities can help people from different backgrounds understand that virus has no nationality, in order to avoid misunderstandings and biases that have risen during the epidemic.

Liao said more events targeting small and micro businesses will be held in the future.

Around 4,000 foreigners live and work in the Tongzilin area, making it the largest expat neighborhood in the city. Many of these international residents speak fluent Chinese and love the laid-back lifestyle of Chengdu. But a closely-knit community is what really helped them blend in.

Tharaka, a regular volunteer at community center, has participated in the life and career consulting for those newly arrived. He has chosen to stay and provide assistance even after the embassy of Sri Lanka, his home country, initiated a plan to bring back Sri Lankan nationals earlier this year.

He said events like the night market is good for business momentum, saying Chengdu's inclusiveness and openness have demonstrated profound economic potential which tempted many business owners to stay despite the hit of the pandemic.

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