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Chinese Premier urges support for street economy, carmaker responds in 2 days

Chinese companies are famous for their business acumen, but a domestic car brand has just taken this to a new level.

Domestic carmaker Wuling on Wednesday unveiled a low-cost mini-van with wing-like planks that can transform the vehicle into a roadside stall instantly.

The company said this would be the “standard issue” for the street economy, which has gained government backing as the economy strives to get back on its feet following the economic shock of COVID-19.

The company, an icon on Chinese social media platforms where it’s known as the “divine instrument for returns on investment” for its low-cost commercial van offerings, seized an opportunity just two days after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang acknowledged that roadside stalls and small shops are important sources for jobs during an inspection tour on Monday.

It is not the first time Wuling has fast-tracked a product. Wuling quickly switched into face mask production in just three days when the COVID-19 caused a severe shortage of the medical product in February.

The freight van with its falcon wing became one of the most discussed topics on China’s WeChat social media platform, attracting over 100,000 views as of press time on Wednesday.

Cong Yi, a professor at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times on Wednesday that fast adaptability by Chinese companies to market needs are helping the Chinese economy on its recovery, which is the fastest in the world.

Others pointed out such vans could help cities regulate street-side businesses using car license plates. Many pointed out that even as the country is developing street economies, there is a need to maintain order and tidiness in urban areas.

The van is priced at 60,000 yuan ($8,440) with the earliest delivery by the end of June, according to media reports.

China is encouraging street vendor business to shore up employment and boost residents’ incomes after the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 during the winter caused a severe loss to the economy and diminished jobs on a massive scale.

China’s Central Civilization Committee office announced last week that it would cease to include street vendors who occupy outdoor spaces or other public areas into city assessments for 2020, indicating a temporary relaxation on the already-tight management of the country’s street food sector.

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