Located at the border of China and Kazakhstan, the China-Kazakhstan Horgos International Border Cooperation Center is the only cross-border trade centre in the world. On March 15, the Chinese side of the cooperation centre began to resume operations.

Xu Zhixian is the manager of a duty-free shop in the centre. The shelves of her shop are filled with all kinds of goods, including cosmetics and food from South Korea. She’s thrilled about the reopening.

“In the past, many tourists from home and abroad purchased our products. The products in our store are all from factories in South Korea, which on average are 60 percent lower than the regular market price,” Xu said.

At the China-Kazakhstan border, people lined up to enter the centre on the first day of its reopening, each standing on a yellow line demarcating 1.5 meters.

Many of them are businesspeople waiting to get in. However, despite the anxious people in the line, one businessman said his profits dropped more than 30 percent.

Some businesses decided to sell their products via live streaming

“We guide people to complete the health declaration card or paper declaration and shorten their waiting period. At the same time, we strengthen customs clearance order management,” said Chen Anning, the director of the Second Division of Customs Inspection at the Horgos International Border Cooperation Center.

“It’s been more than a month since I stayed at home. I have just bought some seaweed and almonds and chocolate for my family,” a customer said.

The construction of the China-Kazakhstan Horgos International Border Cooperation Center is under rapid development under the Belt & Road Initiative. The centre, which sits on 5.6 square kilometres of land, allows entry to people from China and Kazakhstan as well as other countries. To get in, one only has to show their visas or certificate.

“We wanted to reopen the centre as early as possible. The most important thing is to minimize the losses of our vendors. The centre has been considered as a tourism destination. It’s a good place for people to travel and buy commodities,” said Zhang Yongning, the Deputy Director of Horgos Economic Development Zone.

The center has constructed nearly 30 projects, including commodity exhibition spaces, hotels, catering, entertainment, commercial facilities and financial services, with a total investment of more than 30 billion yuan.