Ben: the online salesman

Zheng Binbin, or ‘Ben’, took the train to Beijing on September 1st, 2007: the day he graduated from university near his hometown (Lin Fen in Shanxi province). It had been his dream since his final years at college to come to make it big in China’s capital. How do I know this? Well – besides him telling me – his email address begins wodebeijingmeng@… (‘my Beijing dream’).

He lives not far from Beida, in Beijing’s north-west. From his room he runs an online shop for women’s clothing: cheap, good-quality, simple stuff (I’ll put a photo up of one of the many kinds of sweater he sells soon). His ‘shop’ is called Beijing Chuan Shuo and you can find it by searching on Tao Bao.

Ben’s business has been doing rather well; he certainly seems very busy, and works his mobile a lot, whenever I see him. The cold Beijing winter helped, with girls looking to pad up without dishing out. In an average day, he sells fifty to eighty clothes, earning a tidy 500 kuai (£50) profit. 100 kuai of this, as of last month, goes each day to his first employee … his sister.

He hopes to expand this business someday or start a new company … as he told me, “I have my dream, but right now it is too far away from me”.

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