Shanghai trials management of new business types
Shanghai's urban management and law enforcement authorities are enhancing management on new business types while striking a balance of yanhuoqi and public sanitation, officials announced on Monday.
In Chinese, yanhuoqi means the smoke and fire produced from cooking food. The word is also used to refer to the phenomenon of vitality returning to people's common daily lives following the pandemic.
In downtown Huangpu and Jing'an districts and suburban Songjiang and Fengxian districts, new business types such as night markets, outdoor streetside stalls in designated areas, bazaars and alternative business spots in designated areas with specified opening times have already been trialed, according to the Shanghai Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau.
"The principle is that the trial should be based on the real situation in different areas," said Xu Zhihu, director of the bureau.
In order to boost the economy, the city has permitted district and town governments to assign public spaces for the use of stalls while guaranteeing their safety and cleanliness, according to a notice issued in February by the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau.
These areas include markets and pedestrian streets that open at specific times, indoor areas that cater to basic public livelihood needs, and areas spared from idle space with stalls primarily selling agricultural products by farmers and cooperatives.
The notification states that the latter two can be set up in rural areas or places where there is a shortage of relevant products.
Food vendors and street performers must obtain the necessary permits before they are allowed to operate.
Authorities said the city is attempting to strike a balance between public sanitation management and economic vitality, taking into account a number of aspects including public sanitation, traffic safety, public safety and consumption demand.
"For example, downtown areas with advantages of business prosperity and busy traffic can set up weekend bazaars, pedestrian streets at designated times, and outdoor streetside booths in designated areas, while suburban districts, relying on their rich supply of agricultural produce, can establish alternative spots in designated areas to benefit the public," Xu said.
At the same time, the city would improve the standard of spot selection, and threshold and elimination of stalls, while urban management and law enforcement authorities would step up patrols at the trial spots and nearby areas and beef up efforts to regulate irregularities involved in business operation and garbage sorting to create a tidy environment, according to Xu.
Officials would also innovate their supervision and law enforcement methods by applying information technology and off-site law enforcement methods at these spots.
"The ultimate goal is to benefit the public," said Xu.
So far this year, the city's urban management and law enforcement officials have handled about 5,790 complaints about unlicensed street stalls, and discovered 11,021 such cases in the field.
Unlicensed street stalls are frequent problems confronting urban management, and they often return rapidly due to low administrative penalties, officials said.
So far, a total of 53 agricultural and sideline products spots selling products grown by farmers have been set up in the city to maintain yanhuoqi, the bureau said.
At the same time, irregularities that disturb residents would be strictly cracked down on.
The city's urban management and law enforcement authorities have uncovered about 4,460 cases involving night food stalls, barbecue stalls and breakfast stalls occupying public space on streets this year.
In Nanqiao Town of Fengxian District, an unlicensed wet market on Nanzhuang Road was formed as there was no wet market nearby, leading to management woes.
To tackle the headache, an alternative business spot, which is an agricultural and sideline products sales spot, was established to make life convenient for nearby residents, increase the income of local farmers, improve the business environment and lift management efficiency.
At 6am, farmers of Shenlu Village in Nanqiao bring freshly picked vegetables and fruits to the market, which opened last week.
Unloading their agricultural products and putting them on fixed booths, they start business operations with license cards hung around their necks.
"In the past, quite a number of farmers occupied Nanzhuang Road to do business, particularly in summer time, leading to traffic safety hazards and a dirty environment," said Li Xiaoqiang, with the Nanqiao Town law enforcement team.
"Most vendors are local farmers and seniors, and they came back after officials left," Li added.
It had become a law enforcement headache for officials, Li said.
After Shanghai released the notice in February, the district's urban management and law enforcement authorities decided to set up the spot to balance of people's livelihood demands and public sanitation management.
It features a refined management approach.
All stalls bear a unified code, and there are temporary garbage disposal spots and a designated parking area.
It can accommodate a maximum of 100 booths, satisfying the demand of local farmers.
"We heard the voices of villagers in advance for the operation time of booths and conduct patrols every day to ensure a tidy environment," said Yao Guoping, a team member.
"The market provides diversified options of vegetables for nearby residents," said Fan Yahui, a resident living nearby.
"The spot is convenient and the vegetables are fresh," she added.
"In the past, we always worried that we could not continue the business as we were not licensed," said Sun Guiying, a stall owner.
"Now, the concern is eliminated and moreover, the place is quite good as it shelters us from rain," she added.
The practice will be promoted citywide.
The other two alternative spots are in Fengxian's Zhelin Town and Zhuanghang Town.
In Zhelin Town, the nearest wet market to the Jiayuan residential community is 3 kilometers away and most of its residents are elderly.
In the past, local farmers set up vegetable stalls that occupied roads in front of a kindergarten, leading to traffic congestion and environmental woes.
Business operation at the trial spots is staggered in terms of time duration based on their scale and their proximity to residential complexes and villages to prevent gathering, congestion and management chaos, said Wu Qiang, director of Fengxian District Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau.