China: Around The Nation

It’s a family affair: 12 Chinese cousins set up a summer business selling vegetables

Youngsters plan to spend their profits on a city break after 20 days of hard work

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 August, 2017, 3:33pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 August, 2017, 3:32pm

While some children spend their summer holidays flying off on foreign holidays, 12 young cousins from southwestern China decided to use the time to set up a small business selling vegetables, a local newspaper reported.

The idea came from 18-year-old Lin Xiangli, who recently finished secondary school in Chongqing and will start university net month, Chongqing Morning News reported on Monday.

She was quoted as saying that she wanted to do something “meaningful” over the summer, so she came up with the vegetable idea and talked her younger brother and 10 cousins into joining her.

Over July and August, the young entrepreneurs spent 20 days selling their produce and at the end of the run they had a profit of 1,500 yuan (US$225), which they said they would spend on a short city break.

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“What a group of great children! It will be the best memory of their lives,” an internet user said via Weibo after reading about the children’s exploits.

They certainly worked hard for their rewards, the report said.

Every morning at 3am, Lin’s brother Lin Long drove a van to the wholesalers to buy supplies for the day. In the meantime, other members of the group would head to the marketplace about four kilometres away to secure a good spot.

To keep their costs down, the children allowed themselves only a rice cake and a bottle of water each for their breakfast, the report said.

Most days they spent about eight hours at the market, and had usually sold the last of their wares by about 11am. Their work did not end there, however. Each evening they would get together to discuss how the day had gone and consider ways to improve their business.

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Once the debrief was over they could go to bed – all 12 of them squashed into Lin Xiangli’s modest family house, as it was too far for the younger ones to travel back to their own homes. Several of the boys had to sleep on the floor, the report said.

“The work was exhausting but meaningful,” the teenager said. “The family trip will be the first time I’ll be spending money I’ve earned myself.”

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Another Weibo user said that more children should be encouraged to gather experience in this way, rather than just spending the holidays relaxing.

“Learning how to earn money through [your own] efforts is something a summer camp cannot give to a child,” she said.