Xi disapproves of the ‘street-street economy’ in Beijing, China

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently made it known that he does not support the idea of a “street-street economy” in Beijing. While some cities in China have recently relaxed their restrictions on street vending in order to revitalize their economies following COVID-19 restrictions, Xi Jinping is against the idea of reviving street vending in Beijing, despite record-high youth unemployment in the country. In a speech on May 14, Xi stated that a city is first and foremost a political center, not a “hodgepodge,” and that he could not support operating factories or engaging in a street-street economy in Beijing. This was his first public statement against recent efforts by local governments to promote small-scale entrepreneurship.

The “street-street economy” refers to campaigns promoted by local governments to revitalize the economy and create jobs by promoting small-scale entrepreneurship. These efforts reversed years of crackdowns on street vendors prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and have been especially important during the pandemic with travel restrictions hitting the economy hard. Cities like Zibo have even seen a boost in tourism due to small outdoor barbecue stalls.

However, Xi’s opposition to the “street-street economy” could potentially undermine local government efforts to revitalize the economy through small-scale entrepreneurship. This opposition comes at a time when youth unemployment in China is at a record high of 20.4%, with over 11 million unemployed individuals between the ages of 16 and 24.

Additionally, China’s economic growth has been disappointing following an initial spurt after post-lockdown restrictions were lifted. While industrial production rose 5.6% year-on-year in April, it was far below the 10.9% growth forecast by analysts. Retail sales, while up 18.4% year-on-year, also fell short of analyst expectations by 21%. Economists attribute this trend to weak confidence among consumers and business investors, but Beijing has yet to comment on the matter.

Leave a Reply