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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Fruits are sold at an open-air market in Nanqijia village in Beijing's Changping district on Jan 11. WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY

In the olden days, due to a lack of convenient means of transportation and communication, it was challenging for households to meet their needs for daily necessities. As a solution, people made agreements to gather on a particular day at a specific location, where they traded their surplus goods for the items they needed.

In addition to being venues for buying and selling, these markets became occasions for people to socialize and be entertained.

Today, when supermarkets are found in almost every corner of Beijing and online shopping platforms offer same-day grocery delivery services, Guo said he still enjoys visiting the Shahe Market.

"The fruits and vegetables here may not be as well presented and packaged as those in the supermarkets, and some may even be covered in soil, but they are always fresh and more affordable," he said, adding that he also enjoys talking to the vendors and learning about the efforts they put into growing their produce. "The market has brought people closer."

Since last year, more young people have started visiting the Shahe Market, which was traditionally the favorite haunt of the older generations, according to Guo. "They (young people) are very noticeable. You can tell by their colorful coats and hairdos."

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