Going For Gold

“The Olympics have not brought Beijing’s businesses the boom they hoped for,” From the Economist:

YABAO ROAD in Beijing’s embassy district is normally bustling. Russian traders scour its wholesale shops for furs and boots. Hawkers throng the pavements. The street is jammed with taxis and pedicabs. But the Olympic games have begun. Yabao Road is now strangely quiet.

Only a few months ago many shopkeepers, restaurants and hotels were expecting these to be boom times as big-spending foreigners flocked in for the games. Today many businessmen in and around the capital are disgruntled. So too are other citizens who find that even some outdoor food markets have been closed as part of an Olympic spruce-up.

This should be a busy season for Yabao Road, as Russians arrive to make bulk orders of clothing for the winter and other cheap goods. But Chinese traders say the Russians, like other foreigners, have suffered from the tighter visa requirements introduced by China in the build-up to the games. They say police checkpoints ringing the city and restrictions on lorry traffic entering Beijing have made it much more difficult to bring in goods. One shipping-company manager says that demand from traders for commercial space in Yabao Road has fallen sharply.

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