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Foreign brands suffer big losses in Tibet riot
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08:26, March 24, 2008

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While the Tibetan capital is recovering from the unrest on March 14, many stores of famous foreign brands still have the doors closed on Sunday.

In the downtown Beijing Middle Road, several workers were busy decorating the store of Danish brand for men's wear Jack&Jones. Cai Xiaoying, manager of the shop, didn't know when could it greet customers again.

"Except for a few pieces of clothes in the warehouse, most commodities were robbed by mobsters," she complained.

Situation is similar in the store of ONLY, another international brand of the Danmark-based Bestseller Fashion Group Co., Ltd.

"We hid in the store on that terrible afternoon, but mobs forced in and burnt all the clothes," recalled Li Hua, person-in-charge of the store, who felt lucky that no staff member was injured in the incident.

Pointing at the counters and shelves collapsed amid charred wreckage, she estimated that losses could be about 2 million yuan (about 281,690 U.S. dollars).

"Layout and decoration of the shop are to be re-designed by the headquarters, and floor tiles, counters and shelves need to be replaced with new ones. The work will take at least two months," she said.

Some staff members from outside Lhasa returned to their hometown, while the rest are still worried about their own safety. Several even suffered from insomnia, Li noted.

Apart from the clothing shops, many foreign-funded cafes and restaurants are either shut down or in slack operation, according to Ma Xiangcun, head of the regional department of commerce.

"Currently, Tibet has 103 registered foreign-funded enterprises, whose services mainly cover accommodation, catering, tourism and handicraft. We haven't received reports of losses from them, " he said.

Yau Wan Kong, a 30-year-old businessman from Hong Kong, is crossing fingers for his 40-square-meter Spinn Cafeto to reopen soon.

"Thanks to the Tibetan staff. They saved my shop," said the man who had to cancel his Easter outing.

Yau's friend, another investor of the shop Kittipong Kongkaew from Thailand, felt it hard to understand the violence.

"It is not right for them (rioters) to hurt innocent people," said the man who had been a monk himself.

Source: Xinhua

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