CARMEN VAN KERCKHOVE
The marketplaces of Harbin, provincial capital of northeastern Heilongjiang, have become popular haunts for Russian businessmen.
Their purchases in one local market totalled 500 million yuan (HK$467 million) last year, Xinhua (the New China News Agency) said.
The Harbin Non-Governmental Trade Market is used as a sales base by thousands of independently operating Chinese businessmen, but has recently attracted salesmen from state-owned enterprises, foreign-funded firms and private companies.
Local sources say at least 500 Russian businessmen visit the market each morning, and up to 1,000 on Thursdays and Fridays when an express train makes a stopover in the city.