Chinese university student creates a buzz with cheap campus haircuts

  • Ding Weijie, 19, is studying new energy vehicles at the college in Sichuan, but he’s found his skills as a self-taught barber are in demand
PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 December, 2018, 4:59pm
UPDATED : Friday, 14 December, 2018, 4:59pm

An enterprising student is creating a buzz at a university campus in southwest China, where his cheap and reliable haircuts are in demand.

Ding Weijie, 19, opened an “express hairdressing salon” in his dormitory at the Sichuan Hope Automotive Vocational College in early November, Chengdu Economic Daily reported on Friday.

Although Ding is self-taught, his hairdressing skills have already turned heads on the campus in Ziyang. His 5 to 6 yuan (73 to 87 US cents) cuts for men have become so popular that appointments need to be booked a few days in advance.

Blink and you’ll miss it: meet the Chinese street barber who will shave the inside of your eyelids

The first-year student, whose major is new energy vehicles, said he had been looking for a way to make some extra cash.

“After I started university, I wanted to find a part-time job to earn some money for my living costs,” Ding, who is from Yibin in Sichuan province, told the newspaper.

He initially took a job as a dishwasher in the university canteen, but it did not pay well and left him with little time for studying.

But Ding knew he enjoyed cutting hair – he has cut his own since high school – and although he has never been trained, he spent some weeks working at a local salon during his high school holidays.

“After two weeks, even though they didn’t teach me, I still gained some basic understanding just by watching them,” Ding was quoted as saying.

Why China’s overseas students find things aren’t always better back home

He was also keen to set up his own business.

“At university, I took part in a career planning competition and it made me realise I would like to use my spare time outside class to start a business,” he said.

First, he bought everything he would need for a basic salon – scissors, hair clippers and other tools. He tried out some new haircuts on himself then moved on to his roommate’s hair, watching videos online to perfect his technique before he started charging for cuts.

Zhang Jianping, head of the university, told the newspaper that the college supported Ding’s enterprise and would provide him with a hair salon on campus for free and help him apply for a business scholarship.

“Compared with studying new energy vehicles, hairdressing doesn’t require high-level technical skills, but it is a part of daily life,” Zhang was quoted as saying.