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New trends invigorate Zhejiang villages

By Ma Zhenhuan in Hangzhou| chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: October 17, 2022 L M S


Hansheng village in Xiangshan, Ningbo updates a vacant cultural hall into a "Common Prosperity Station". [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

As fairs, coffee cars and minsu (a Chinese-style bed-and-breakfast business) are gaining widespread popularity in East China's Zhejiang province, villages in the area have figured out their own ways to promote rural vitalization.

Xie Junwu runs a coffee shop, 55 Road Coffee, with his wife in Huangyangjian village in Zhoushan's Putuo district. The couple began their business from a mobile coffee car.

"We changed our car into a mobile coffee stall and sold coffee on Luotang Road, where we got first group of regular customers," said Xie. "Later we were invited to many activities such as fairs. Then we opened the shop in the village".

"Customers can enjoy a cup of coffee for free if they share a story about themselves", added Xie, who regards coffee as a way to make more friends. "They are also encouraged to participate in the making process at the bar counter".

On the window of his shop there is a slogan posted that "every coffee lover can be a barista".

Xie's business philosophy has attracted many like-minded customers. Though the decoration of the shop, where folding tables and chairs are placed, hasn't been finished, it has become a hot destination on the lifestyle-sharing platform Xiaohongshu.


A rice mill is renovated into a wine shop in Huangyangjian village, Zhoushan, Zhejiang province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Introducing popular shops is one of the methods that the village has undertaken to promote rural vitalization.

According to Liu Hui, manager of Zhanmao Rural Vitalization Investment and Development Co Ltd, a model in which the company and villagers cooperate was launched in Huangyangjian.

The company is involved in the overall management and operation of businesses in the village. To promote its tourism industry development, it has renovated more than 30 unused buildings into shops, restaurants, bookstores and minsu. And six "Common Prosperity Fairs" were held in the village, which have attracted nearly 150,000 people.

"It is an example of beautiful Chinese villages," said Italian visitor Jacopo Maria Lasala who visited Huangyangjian for the first time. "Staying in a village for a day or two can help me to relax during stressful times".

In 2021, the average household income at Huangyagjian increased by more than 10,000 yuan ($1,390) and the model will be applied to surrounding villages.

Hansheng village, a fishing village in Ningbo's Xiangshan county, is also inspired by the latest travel trends and is building itself into a place for weekend excursions.

It is currently updating a vacant cultural hall into a "Common Prosperity Station", which accommodates a visitor center, a digital pavilion, cafes and bookshops, a grocery center, and a gallery that displays a collection of intangible cultural heritage.

11 businesses, including a recreational vehicle camping site and a fishing boat restaurant, will be launched in the village.

Yu Yin in Ningbo contributed to the story.

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