Night economy brightens cultural Jianshui
When darkness falls, street lamps are lit, bringing the county town of Jianshui back to life. The old town is located in south Yunnan’s Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, with its highlights of night life being the Zitao (purple- pottery) Street, the Jishi (chick-market) Street and the Tiny Train Station. As these spots are getting increasingly crowded, the town gives off a thick air of worldly life: Locals after dinner and tourists with bags in hands are strolling on the streets for leisure, talking happily and laughing heartedly.
Long Meichun and her husband run a stall at the west gate of Zitao Street. They lay out many kinds of sports shoes and sandals on a spring bed. When there is no customer, the couple will chat with nearby vendors, chewing sunflower seeds. "My husband works at a construction site during the day, while I take care of the children at home. At night, we jointly run the stall, which brings us an extra income of two or three thousand yuan a month," said Long.
A few yards away, a rice noodle shop with traditional flavor is enjoying thriving business. Zhang Hong, the shop manager, shares several tables with other vendors, so that diners can taste local snacks such as tofu and chicken feet while eating his rice noodles. "At the beginning of this year, the market was closed for a while due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and the management equipped the area with gas lines in a bid to upgrade the facilities,” said Zhang, pointing to the yellow gas pipes in front of the store. "They are safer, easier and more efficient than gas bottles in the past."
Zitao Street has been a top attraction in Jianshui since it opened five years ago. Every night, vendors take to the street and join in sales, with their stalls forming a stream as long as hundreds of meters. They sell barbecues, rice noodles, flowers, fruits, cakes, clothes, shoes and socks. After a busy day, locals and visitors come here for delicacies, flowers and pottery pots. The night routine has become a pastime for them.
Not long ago, Jianshui Zitao Cultural Development Company, the operator of Zitao Street, decided to exempt all snack vendors from one-year booth fees. "The exemption of booth rents and trash-clearing fees will cost our company more than 5 million yuan a year, but we think it necessary for us to illuminate the city at night," said the person in charge of the company’s operation department.
Apart from physical sales at stalls and shops, online sales also make livelier the night in Jianshui. At the Zitao Exhibition Center, Gui Dongmei, the manager, does live streaming via Douyin every night, selling pottery wares online. "One needs be attractive to perform better in night economy, and in essence the key to sales is to impress people. We try to sell online, so that more people could see the charm of Jianshui pottery," said Gui.
Jianshui was called "Lin 'an" in ancient times. A tourist town of cultural diversity, it has a history of more than 1,000 years. Jianshui abounds cultural relics and ancient buildings, making it known as the "Museum of Ancient Dwellings". Now it is making new breakthroughs in developing tourism. By innovating economic patterns, services and products for night market, the county aims to make tourists dipped into local culture and gain spiritual enjoyment. According to Zhao Wei, deputy head of Jianshui, the county has started the construction of night tour sites along Lin 'an Road. Based on the unique local culture, the ancient Jianshui county town will be livelier and more dynamic.
Reporting by Li Shufen; trans-editing by Wang Shixue (Yunnan Tourism & Culture Times)