Located at the border of China and Kazakhstan, the China-Kazakhstan Horgos International Border Cooperation Center is the only cross-border trade center in the world. On March 15, the Chinese side of the cooperation center began to resume operations.
Xu Zhixian is the manager of a duty-free shop in the center. The shelves of his shop are filled with all kinds of goods, including cosmetics and food from South Korea. He’s thrilled about the reopening.
“In the past, many tourists from home and abroad purchased our products. The products in our store are all from factories in South Korea, which on average are 60 percent lower than the regular market price,” Xu said.
At the China-Kazakhstan border, people lined up to enter the center on the first day of its reopening, each standing on a yellow line demarcating 1.5 meters in distance. Many of them are business people waiting to get in. One businessman said his profits dropped more than 30 percent. Some businesses decided to sell their products via livestreaming.
“We guide people to complete the health declaration card or paper declaration and shorten their waiting period. At the same time, we strengthen customs clearance order management,” said Chen Anning, the director of the Second Division of Customs Inspection at the Horgos International Border Cooperation Center.
“It’s been more than a month since I stayed at home. I have just bought some seaweed and almonds and chocolate for my family,” said a customer.
The cooperation center was built under the Belt and Road Initiative. Covering an area of 5.6 square kilometers, the center allows entry to people from both China and Kazakhstan and other countries as well. Anyone could get in, just by showing the visa or certificate.
“We wanted to reopen the center as early as possible. The most important thing is to minimize the losses of our vendors. The center has been considered as a tourism destination. It’s a good place for people to travel and buy commodities,” said Zhang Yongning, the deputy director of Horgos Economic Development Zone.
The center has constructed nearly 30 projects, including commodity exhibition spaces, hotels, catering, entertainment, commercial facilities and financial services, with a total investment of more than 30 billion yuan.