Open-air markets bolster Beijing's street vending economy

Sellers get a fair chance to do brisk business as the lively atmosphere draws shoppers young and old

By CUI JIA | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-02-15 08:17
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Spring Festival decorations such as lanterns and couplets are sold at the Shahe Market on Jan 7. WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY

Guo Liping, 50, has been regularly visiting the Shahe Market in Beijing's Changping district for a decade. He said he is a big fan of the vibrant open-air market because it helps him unwind and stay passionate about life.

The market is so popular among both Changping's residents and visitors from other districts that shoppers jostle for elbowroom on normal days, and now with the Year of the Dragon here, the crowds are swelling as more vendors have set up shop to sell Spring Festival decorations such as lanterns, couplets and red envelopes, Guo said.

"Shahe Market is the place to be if one wants to get into the festive mood. Look how happy people are when choosing Spring Festival decorations. See how their faces light up when they land a good deal. Simple pleasures don't cost much here," he said, in between bites of his hot sesame bun with sausages.

As delicious smells wafted up from the food stalls on a cold winter morning, Guo, who works in the finance sector, said: "For many people like me, coming to the market is therapeutic, and I am not exaggerating a bit. As soon as I walk into the market, I feel very relaxed. It's totally worth the one-hour drive."

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