Yang Cailin (right) talks to a customer in one of her stores selling duty-free products from Taiwan in the Aoqian Taiwan Town in Pingtan, Fujian province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
When Taiwan resident Yang Tsailin sold up her boutique store in Changhua county in 2013, retirement was the only thing on the fiftysomething's mind. But four years on, she finds herself the owner of a thriving business empire on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.
Yang now runs a chain of five stores selling Taiwan snacks and trinkets in Pingtan, a fast-growing city off the coast of Fujian province.
Destiny is the force Yang believes led her to start her new life on the Chinese mainland. Her journey started in 2013, when by chance she saw a television commercial promoting Pingtan and its new daily shuttle ferry service linking the city and Taiwan in 2013.
At the time, the city made up of 126 islands in the Taiwan Strait was little more than a backwater, but the commercial proclaimed that Pingtan would soon develop itself into a "common homeland" for people on both sides of the Strait.
Curious, in September she decided to take the new ferry to Pingtan to see the islands for herself. "I didn't think too much at that time, and just took it as a tourist trip to the city,” Yang recalled.