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    Street Stall Craze Continues as Young Chinese Make the Most of Spring Festival

    The revival of the street stall economy has continued into Spring Festival, with young Chinese entrepreneurs making the most of their extended breaks.

    It has been a profitable Spring Festival for Sheng Fangyu, 25. In the runup to the Lunar New Year, she and her boyfriend set up a stall in her hometown in the eastern Shandong province, selling festive items such as Spring Festival couplets, car stickers, and words of blessing at wet markets and street markets.

    As young Chinese increasingly celebrate Spring Festival in their own distinct ways, some have turned to the low-cost and flexible street stall economy as a means to make an extra buck.

    On lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu, popular among young Chinese urbanites, users have been sharing their experiences setting up stalls in their hometowns during Spring Festival. Tags such as “earning over 1,000 yuan ($139) a day” and “setting up a stall to get rich” have become popular, attracting others to also try it out.

    “I prefer working for myself and making money, rather than working for someone else,” Sheng told Sixth Tone. Sheng and her boyfriend made 2,600 yuan from 11 days of selling goods at their stall.

    After years of growing restrictions, China’s street stall economy has been making a comeback since the end of the pandemic as local officials try to kickstart the economy. Cities across China have expanded areas where street stalls are permitted and lifted restrictions on brick-and-mortar stores wishing to operate outdoor stalls.

    The southwestern Sichuan province was one of the earliest promoters of the street stall economy as a tool for economic recovery. In Neijiang, a city in the province’s southeast, university student Deng Yuman, 18, set up a stall offering lanterns, selling out as early as Lunar New Year’s Eve.

    “The flow of people before the new year was huge, and everyone was more willing to spend money during the festive season,” Deng said. 

    Deng explained that she chose to sell lanterns because of their popularity among both children and adults. She made 500 yuan in total, after buying 50 lanterns for 100 yuan.

    Both Sheng and Deng said they plan to set up street stalls again during future Spring Festivals, expanding their products and the scale of their businesses.

    “Although running a stall is challenging, it’s still more comfortable than working at a normal job, and I am also working for myself,” said Sheng.

    (Header image: Street stalls run by young Chinese people. From Xiaohongshu)