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Forerunner at the Small-Commodities Market

  • Agricultural Science
  • Communication
  • Law


This year, I am fifty-six. I come from Heping village in Feitang, Yiwu. I clearly remember December 1, 1955, because on that day I changed from being a consumer to being a producer by joining an agricultural-forestry-and-animal-husbandry higher-level cooperative. It covered a broad area ⦠that included the whole belt of yellow-earth hills in the northwest corner of the county seat. After working there full-time for three years, I was transferred to the labor-service company in 1958 as a sales assistant. In 1962, Chiang Kaishek, who was illegally occupying Taiwan, advocated "counterattacking the mainland" and the situation became tense. My residency was transferred from the town to my mother-in-law's village ⦠and I became a temporary worker instead of a full-time one. Luckily my husband ⦠was an employee with the Chengyang supply and marketing cooperative, so I had the opportunity to become a dependent worker in the cooperative for seven years. In 1969, I returned to the labor-service company. In 1979, I saw people carrying baskets, selling various kinds of small commodities on the vacant site of the hardware company (its buildings and foundations had been burnt down), and business was not bad. I saw them arrive with baskets of goods and leave with empty baskets, and bargaining on either side, the one taking cash and the other goods. Although one had to constantly take into account whether taxation or city industrial and commercial management committee personnel would appear, the scene made my heart involuntarily thump with excitement and I also wanted to give it a try. But my request was not approved and I was forced to stay on at the labor-service company. On August 5, 1980, my household registration was shifted from the countryside back to the town. To change my residency, I had to sell my grain rations, and I sold four hundred kilos of grain for 0.16 yuan per kilo and made eighty yuan. I was reluctant to break up the eighty yuan, feeling that this was an opportunity and that if I could get some more money together, I would have some capital to do business! So I asked ⦠a cadre in the Choucheng commune to find a way to help me, and borrowed three hundred yuan from [a] commune cooperative. These 380 yuan became the capital for my business.

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