Businesses change course amid COVID-19

By Hu Yuanyuan | China Daily | Updated: 2020-05-27 08:04
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A worker inspects yarn at a textile factory in Qutang town, Haian city, Jiangsu province, which provides jobs for locals. [Photo by Zhai Huiyong/For China Daily]

New venture

Sun Mingze, who was born in 1979, used to work in the information technology sector. He had a schedule dubbed "996"-toiling from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week. However, after working in Beijing for two decades, he had saved enough to start his own business.

After spending more than six months investigating the catering sector in the city, Sun and several other investors opened three medium-sized restaurants last year named Daddy Shrimp. The outlets served different-flavored crayfish. Investment in the business, which mainly went on rent and decoration work, exceeded 3 million yuan ($420,600).

Just as the venture was about to break even, the COVID-19 outbreak emerged, forcing two of the restaurants to close due to high labor and rental costs.

Sun said: "The monthly rent for our 450-square-meter restaurant close to Jianxiang bridge on the northeast Third Ring Road is more than 80,000 yuan. We need to pay six months' rent in advance, plus an extra month's as the mortgage.

"At peak times, we have 14 staff members, and the annual cost of running the restaurant is more than 1.2 million yuan. Although we've been given a one-month rent exemption due to the pandemic, we are still finding it hard to survive."

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