Nighttime economy thrives in China’s Xinjiang

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By Li Ya’nan, People’s Daily
Nighttime economy is currently prospering in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, creating splendid scenarios of consumption and entertainment for the people there after the night falls.
The Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar, one of the most famous landmarks in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, has turned into a shiny star in the night where visitors and local residents can enjoy both tempting food and beautiful sceneries. The tourist attraction now runs 24 hours a day, and is receiving nearly 30,000 visits on a daily basis.
For Zhang Ying, a local resident in Urumqi, nighttime economy means more time for shopping. In the past, malls would always close at an early time, and Zhang, who clocks off at work later than that, could hit the malls and dine out with friends only on weekends.
“Now many malls have extended their operation hours, and that’s why me and my colleagues are hanging out here today. Later, we’ll watch a movie together,” Zhang told People’s Daily.
Nighttime economy not only tickles people’s taste buds, but also is attractive culturally. In night markets, brilliant performances are seen everywhere, such as traditional Chinese operas, talk shows, music, and even xiangsheng, also known as crosstalk or comic dialogue.
The municipal library of Urumqi, as well as other cultural places in the city extended their operation hours, too, and many ski resorts have launched nighttime skiing activities. The Silk Road Ski Resort in Urumqi received nearly 500 ski enthusiasts on the first day it launched a night skiing program in November the last year.
Nighttime economy, apart from making people’s night life more splendid, is also bringing more income to relevant businesses and employees.
Wu Xiaohui, a service assistant at the skincare and cosmetics department of the Wuika Plaza, Urumqi, was still serving customers at nearly 23:00. “Though the extension of operation hours made our work more tiring, we feel happy about it. My sales performance went up rapidly, and so did my salary and bonuses,” she told People’s Daily.
Vice operations manager of the mall Peng Li said the mall used to close at 21:00, and now it has extended the operation hours and is running 24 hours a day on holidays. The mall is seeing more customers at night, and its revenue has increased by more than 12 percent from a year ago, Peng added.
Given the prospering nighttime economy, Nureli Wulayin, owner of a night market stall in Xinjiang’s Kashgar now gets up very early in the morning to prepare food. The man now earns over 1,000 yuan ($156.81) each night from the barbecue and lamb intestine soup he makes. “My customers are mostly local residents, which makes my income stable,” he said.
Nighttime economy also created more jobs for local communities. The 37 night markets and 20 flea markets in Xinjiang’s Changji Hui autonomous prefecture are visited by around 80,000 people per day, generating daily revenue of 2.8 million yuan and creating more than 3,000 jobs.
Such healthy development of nighttime economy couldn’t have been achieved without delicacy management and services. Eight parking lots around the Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar offer nighttime discounts in parking fees, and temporary routes of night buses have been launched. Other commercial zones in Urumqi have also established new temporary parking space and offered favorable parking policies.
The Urumqi High-Tech Industrial Development Zone has launched nighttime winter activities covering six major themes, as well as two nighttime tour routes. Besides, it has been offering a series of discounts for wider participation.
Ma Huiliang, head of the commerce bureau of the Urumqi High-Tech Industrial Development Zone, told People’s Daily that there are 26 supermarkets and malls joining nighttime economy in nine locations of the zone.
Apart from offering extra parking space, the commerce bureau has also worked with local neighborhood committees and relevant administrations for electricity and fire safety inspections, so as to ensure safe production and solid pandemic control for businesses, Ma said.

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