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Tashikurgan tourism boom creates new entrepreneurs

By XING WEN and MAO WEIHUA in Urumqi | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-09-20 17:47
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Anayim Niyaz (right), 23, a member from the Pamir tourist area's art troupe in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, gives dancing performance to visitors in August. [PHOTO BY XING WEN/CHINA DAILY]

Female Entrepreneurs

In a booth on a square in the central part of the Pamir tourism area, 35-year-old Jamal Mirzimamat was selling a canvas bag featuring Tajik-style embroidery to an enthused tourist.

She is the founder of a company that manufactures ethnic clothes and ornaments and other local specialties. Her company had already made 400,000 yuan from January to August this year.

After graduating from Xinjiang Industry Technical College in Urumqi in 2008, Jamal decided to start her own business in Tashikurgan's Dabutar village where she grew up.

"I learned how to make Tajik-style embroideries from my mother since I was a child. I wanted to open a store that sells embroideries and other handmade crafts at that time," she recalled.

She went to search for local craftswomen who were willing to collaborate with her to supply products for her store, but some gave her the cold shoulder.

"Back then, few women would run businesses. My fellow villagers just didn't understand why a college graduate chose to open a store instead of seeking a stable job," she said.

Finally, her elder sister supported her by making garments and handicrafts for Jamal's store. In 2009, the store collected revenue of 30,000 yuan.

Before 2016, most of her customers were local Tajik people. The fledgling tourism brought her more customers from outside the county. Her company has gradually expanded.

Next to the booth are two yurts where visitors can put on the traditional Tajik clothing and wear exquisite accessories for photographs.

"The tourists take a long trip to arrive here. They would like to buy our products as souvenirs and try on our traditional clothes," she said, adding that the company's annual revenue rose to 300,000 yuan in 2016.

Her company boasts several branches across the county and an online shop on the e-commerce platform Taobao. She even opened an outlet in Hainan province's Haikou city.

"I feel confident about the prospect of my business," she said, adding that the company has nearly 50 employees.

Besides, her success has also encouraged local women to embrace entrepreneurship.

"I am glad that four of my former employees have already started their own businesses after they left my company," she said.

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