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'Home Collecting'

(Global Times)

11:13, August 15, 2011

Rows upon rows of houses dating back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) dot many villages in China, and one man has found a way to turn these cultural gems into a successful business.

Laoniu runs an online store, but he's not selling cheap jeans and toaster ovens. He deals strictly in heritage homes around China, and he is making a killing off them.

A residential house built in the early Qing Dynasty recently sold for around 1.2 million yuan ($186,000) and the price of another house from Ningbo in Zhejiang Province reached 980,000 yuan.

The older, the pricier

Laoniu said wealthy people in China are tired of spending their money on paintings and sculptures to fill their homes; they want a new way to show off their wealth. He said buying such houses dating as far back as the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) is becoming popular among the nouveau riche.

"Many old houses are of exquisite craftsmanship, with beautiful stone carvings, but most are badly damaged," Laoniu told the Global Times. "So it can be hard to mix the old designs with modern conveniences."

Since he opened the online store last year, he has sold three old houses and many stone carving pieces.

"I gave up my job and devoted myself to my business," he said.
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