Date
8 December 2016
Ma (inset) cleared 32 tons of potatoes after his story went viral on China's social media. Photo: Shenzhen Evening News
Ma (inset) cleared 32 tons of potatoes after his story went viral on China's social media. Photo: Shenzhen Evening News

Potato man sells 32 tons of produce in one night in Shenzhen

A potato farmer from Qinghai, stranded in Shenzhen with 32 tons of potatoes, attracted so much attention on social media he cleared his produce in one night.

By the time he left after nine days, the 60-year-old man, surnamed Ma, had no more potatoes to sell, Shenzhen Evening News reports.

Ma’s travails went viral after netizens picked up his story on the internet and it spread like wildfire when it made its way to WeChat, a Chinese messaging platform.

Ma, who raises potatoes and vegetables in Hualong Hui village in Qinghai province, went to Shenzhen hoping to make money.

Qinghai potatoes sell for about six fen per catty but in Shenzhen the price can go up to two to three yuan per catty.

It was his first time there.

He had rented a truck to bring the potatoes to the thriving southern Chinese city.

“The rent for the truck was 500 yuan per ton. I spent about 16,000 yuan and four days and nights to come to Shenzhen,” Ma said.

But when he arrived at the wholesale market, he was told that his potatoes did not meet the required size and were not sorted properly, so they could not be sold.

Ma was stranded. He regretted not communicating properly with the dealer and apologized for causing so much trouble.

With the help of a man from his hometown, Ma offloaded the potatoes and brought them near an industrial center in Bo’an district.

He picked up some wooden boards and sheets from the street and made a small makeshift bed for himself. He looked after the mountain of potatoes for nine straight nights.

Finally, photos of the potatoes began to appear on social media and in WeChat groups.

People started arriving, some of them buying potatoes, others offering him food.

“Some people gave me money but I said no. A man just money in my box. There was another man who paid 1,200 yuan for six boxes of potatoes.”

“I know they did not come for the potatoes. They came to help.”

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