Wondrous Xinjiang: Xinjiang's mobile bazaar blooms ahead

(Xinhua) 13:08, April 19, 2024

URUMQI, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Amid joyful music, vendors enthusiastically peddled goods like nuts, jam and utensils, with the scene resembling a typical marketplace except for the rhythmic chugging sound, indicating that it was a mobile one aboard a train.

The leisurely-paced green train No. 7556, linking Urumqi, the capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, to Hotan in the region's southern reaches, operates at a speed of below 80 km per hour.

However, over the past 13 years since it was put into operation, this slow train has served as a marketplace for over 15 million passengers during its 31.5-hour journeys.

Karim Abdurexit, 63, from Xinjiang's Shache County, boarded the train at 5 p.m., carrying his handcrafted wooden bowls. As the train departed from Shache Station, the No. 11 carriage, where he was in, quickly filled with passengers. Accustomed to electronic payments, Karim Abdurexit presented his payment QR code to buyers, facilitating easy transactions without the need to handle cash or provide change.

"This makes transactions seamless and simplifies record-keeping. Take a look, last month alone I earned over 3,800 yuan (524.7 U.S. dollars)," he said, showing his bank account statement on his phone.

According to Karim Abdurexit, he used to frequent countryside bazaars in the past, characterized by donkey carts and swirling dust, a sharp contrast to the mobile bazaar where passengers move through comfortable carriages equipped with amenities like drinking water, toilets and uninterrupted mobile phone signal coverage.

Smartphones are revolutionizing the lifestyle of local residents in Xinjiang. So far, 54,000 5G base stations have been built across the region. Every prefecture-level city, county and township here is now covered by 5G networks, boasting over 20 5G base stations for every 10,000 residents.

Having sold over 70 cans of fig jam, Yimamamat Saipar, a vendor from Atux, set his phone on a tripod for live-streaming. He said he started posting short videos on social platforms last year, which garnered unexpected success. "Today, I prepared 200 cans of fig jam, and I've already sold over 80 online."

Thanks to the internet, his fig products have reached different parts of China such as Shaanxi, Guangdong and other provinces, cities and regions thousands of kilometers away, resulting in an annual income of around 200,000 yuan.

Polatkhan, chief conductor of the train who has worked on this railway line for years, has witnessed significant transformations in this mobile bazaar. "In addition to the typical dry fruits and handicrafts found in markets, this mobile market offers more specialties like yogurt, honey and baked stuffed buns, unique to Xinjiang," he said, adding that the bazaar has brought prosperity for the local farmers.

He noted that the train has made it possible for locals to seek medical services or attend schools outside of Xinjiang, while also drawing visitors to the region for tourism or business.

"In the past, it was just sand and desert as far as the eye could see from the window, but now there are more trees, as well as new industrial parks and enterprises," said Mireban Matiruz, who frequently travels between Kashgar and Hotan, while admiring the lovely view outside.

Gazing at the apricot and pear trees in full blossom from the train window, she joyfully said, "Spring is on its way. I feel a deep sense of happiness every time I travel outside and soak in the beauty of nature. I am sure my hometown will continue to thrive, as will our lives."

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


Related Stories