Man on the Street: Street-Side Phone Accessory Seller

By Sky Gidge, November 16, 2017

0 0

Man on the Street is a regular series where we talk to someone doing an everyday job, in order to gain insight into the lives of normal Chinese people.

On a recent Monday night, Chuan Ran proves himself resourceful. A middle-aged woman is hesitating – will the phone cases Ran sells really fit her friend’s iPhone?

Ran spots us standing near his small, tent-based shop and borrows my phone – slipping it from case to snug-fitting case until the woman settles on a mauve number, bedazzled with a sparkling angel wing. My phone comes back.

Ran is a low-level phone accessory seller and provider of the tiemo service, as the sign hanging above the tent-opening advertises. Directly translated, tiemo reads ‘stick to membrane.’ Rather than street-side biology, the service is a blast of compressed air to clean a phone’s screen before a screen protector is deftly applied – a vexing task for most of us, but performed at ad hoc stations across China for around RMB10.  

Many – or most – street-side tiemo operate with the ebb of city management, setting up in underpasses or on footbridges and ready to pack up their foldout tables and knock off phone cables when local ‘enforcers’ get wise. 

But in a country obsessed with covering everything from hotel tables to home computers in protective foil, demand for tiemo outweighs the risk of doing business. 

Ran is a step above that – though he eludes to a time when things were not so ‘orderly’ – now paying about RMB1,500 monthly to rent a space in a Shenzhen neighborhood where tiemo is regulated. 

Ran’s workday starts around 3pm and lasts until about 11pm when business slows. When not hawking his wares, Ran sits behind his laptop watching Chinese television shows, surrounded on three sides with a rainbow of phone cases and other goods, most purchased wholesale at an electronics market a 10-minute ride away. 
So it’s a surprise when Ran says sales are not a big moneymaker for him – tiemo, he tells us, are what people really pay for.




THE DIRTY DETAILS
Monthly salary: RMB3,000
Days per week: 7  
Hours per day: 10

To read more Man on the Street click here.

more news

Making and Racing Dragon Boats in the GBA

The Greater Bay Area has played a significant role in the development of the sport, both by manufacturing vessels for export and by cultivating a competitive spirit among paddlers in the region.

Persona N - An Unforgettable & Experienced Campaign By Niccolo Hotels

On-property experiences for millennial and Generation Z travellers!

Kempinski and NUO Hotels Launch China Roadshow

Kempinski and NUO Hotels Launch China Roadshow to Showcase Diverse Brands and Services

9 Apps You Need to Survive in China

Top apps for life and travel in China!

Stay Connected: Buying a SIM Card in China

One WeChat message at a time!

Payment Service Guide for Overseas Visitors to China

Enjoy your stay in China with hassle-free payments!

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at thatsonline for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in China With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Magazines!

Visit the archives