It is very cold now, while the Tet holiday last for a long time. Therefore, the Lang Son yuan market has only opened up since the sixth day of the Lunar New Year.
However, the market still keeps quiet. Only a few people were seen making transactions at the market on the day, while the market was large enough to contain 50 yuan exchange kiosks.
In the past, the market was held right on the streets at the beginning of the Ky Cung Bridge. Later, the market has been relocated to the area near the Ba Trieu Street. The market was situated at the kiosks No 1 and 2 of the Dong Kinh stadium, belonging to the Vinh Trai ward of Lang Son province. There were a signboard “Diem thu doi ngoai te” (Chinese yuan exchange point).
In general, the owners of the yuan exchange kiosks here always keep very cautious when opening the kiosks. They do not overcharge, because they fear that if customers refuse to change money, their business would not prosper this year.
Besides the big money market located near the city’s stadium, there are many other money markets in Lang Son. These include the markets on the Cong Trang area, Vuong Sai area in Dong Dang town, the Tan Thanh and Chi Ma border gate areas. Especially, money can be also changed at big markets such as Dong Kinh, Dong Dang and Tan Thanh.
The three-way crossroads in Dong Dang town has become the “money change crossroads.” Even the big demands of changing tens of millions of dong or hundreds of millions of dong can also be satisfied there.
In general, a kiosk could change 100-200 million dong a day, while on lucky days, the figure could e 400-500 million dong. The interest rates depend on the amounts of money to be changed. If someone only changes tens or hundreds of yuan, he would get 3000 Vietnam dong for every yuan. Meanwhile, as for bigger amounts, one yuan would be converted into 3200 dong.
Lang Son has been well known as a shopping center of the northeastern region, with a lot of big markets, where diversified goods are sold at the prices which are much lower than in Hanoi and neighboring provinces. The markets of Dong Kinh, Dong Dang and Tan Thanh are always very bustling.
However, the noteworthy thing is that at the Vietnamese markets, both the Vietnam dong and Chinese yuan are accepted for making payment. Many sellers said that they prefer yuan to dong, because they have to pay in yuan when buying goods in China for sale in Lang Son in Vietnam.
A middle aged woman, who caught a coach from the Huu Nghi border gate to Bac Giang province, said that she returned to Vietnam to visit relatives. She has been living in China for 20 years. She works as a waiter at a casino for which she receives 5000 yuan, or 16 million dong. The woman said that she can buy things in Lang Son with the yuan she has, and she only needs dong when arriving in Bac Giang.
Meanwhile, a lot of Vietnamese people who cross the border gates to China to work as porters there also get pay in Chinese yuan. Therefore, they pay in yuan when returning to Vietnam. As such, the Chinese yuan has become more popular in payment in the Vietnamese territory.
Most recently, the Lang Son provincial people’s committee held a meeting assessing the gold trade and foreign currency exchange services in the locality. A report said that there are 169 individuals who provide money exchange services, including 36 people who do not have practice licenses.
However, analysts believe that the figures are just the tip of the iceberg, while the trade activities are really more complicated than in the report.