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Taiwan man's shop example of cross-Straits opportunities

By Chen Meiling in Xiamen, Fujian Province (China Daily) Updated:2017-06-19

After years of separation from his wife and young daughter in Taiwan, Hou Yen-chin, 36, owner of a china porcelain shop, finally had his family travel across the Taiwan Straits to join him in Xiamen, Fujian province, this year.

"There are many things in common between this city and my hometown," he said. "I came from a small village of Miaoli county in Taiwan. I found they both have a slow and tranquil lifestyle."

After he quit his job as a manager at a listed company in Taiwan with a monthly salary of about 8,000 yuan ($1,180), Hou opened a store in Zengcuoan village of Xiamen in East China in 2015 due to his love for porcelain.

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Now tourists from across the country come to his shop to paint porcelain cups with custom words and pictures, showing love for their loved ones, he said.

He got the idea from a woman from Taiwan who posted a photo of such cups on Facebook, he said.

"I believe there is a market on the Chinese mainland because its economy is very stable and there will be more people willing to pay for something that is not necessary for daily life yet unique for themselves," he said.

His cups have been sold in many countries including France, Italy, the United States, Japan and Vietnam. The store now has more than 8,000 fans on the Chinese social networking platform WeChat, he said.

His father and 5-year-old daughter influenced him most when he made the decision to go to the mainland, he said.

Hou's ancestors came from Meixian county of South China's Guangdong province. His father has run a cross-Straits trading enterprise for metal parts in Xiamen since 1994.

Hou came to the mainland for the first time at the age of 26 and stayed for eight months at his father's factory.

"When my daughter was born in 2011, I was attending courses in college to get promoted in the company," he recalled. "I was always thinking of how far I could go in the company and how I could offer my family a better life."

He said the company's staff generally worked 12 hours a day and the salary was not very high.

But now, flourishing businesses on the Chinese mainland are appealing to job seekers across the Straits.

"My father asked me if I wanted to seek a fortune here too. And I said yes," he said.

His first source for the porcelain cups was an old man surnamed Jiang from Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, who set up a stall in Xiamen, selling porcelain products.

As a volunteer in the city, Hou's father had helped Jiang when he struggled with diabetes.

"My father earned more than 1,000 yuan in the first month by selling those cups, so he introduced this small shop to me," he said. "I fell in love with it immediately."

Hou said he could tell stories of all the 400 cups on the shelves painted by guests.

He said he expected to sell his cups around the world and to Taiwan in the future.

"I have made some sincere friends here. I'd like to give suggestions about traveling in Xiamen if needed," he said.

"What matters most is that I am now with my family and doing something meaningful."


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