'Lucky' stall at Chinatown bazaar goes for $13,899 – highest bid in six years

Adeline Tan
The New Paper
Dec 21, 2018

A stall at the Chinese New Year festive bazaar in Chinatown next year went for a whopping $13,899 in rental.

This is the highest bid in six years.

The bid was for the "lucky" stall in the Chinatown Chinese New Year festive street bazaar, which will be held from Jan 18 to Feb 4 next year.

Stallholders said the location of the stall at the junction of Smith Street and Trengganu Street is a hotspot for visitors at the market, and thus can bring in the most money.

There were three bidders for the "lucky" stall at the 2019 bazaar, and the lowest bid was $2,700. The minimum bid for a stall at the bazaar this year was $1,850.

The lucky owner of the stall is Mr Ye Wei Qiang, who has been setting up his stall at the festive bazaar for close to 30 years.

He was also the owner of the "lucky" stall this year, which he won with a $8,399 bid.

Mr Ye, 55, told The New Paper yesterday: "This year, I decided to up my stakes by $5,500. But I did it without hesitation because I got wind that my competitor had recovered from his sickness and would be bidding this year."

He said that he and his rival has been at odds for close to 10 years, and would fight over the "lucky" stall every year. He had lost out to his competitor in the 2017 bazaar.

At the bazaar next year, Mr Ye said he will be selling mostly pomelos at his "lucky" stall.

His pomelos can range from $6 for a regular pomelo to $12 for a large one.

Mr Ye said he will be also renting the stall across the "lucky" stall for about $5,000.

This brings the number of stalls he will have at the bazaar to five, managed by him and four other business partners, and bringing his total rental expenditure to at least 20,000.

"I rent the space opposite the lucky stall as a backup plan. There were some years I couldn't get the lucky stall, but at least I had the one opposite.

"It is very important to get the space near the lucky stall because there is a lot of traffic around that area," he said.

Mr Ye will be selling Chinese sausages and other snacks at the opposite stall.

Despite the high rent, Mr Ye is confident that he will be able to make a profit.

"I make a profit every year, and I have a few other stalls around the bazaar as well.

"It is expected that the profit will dip slightly due to the high rent, but we have regular customers, and business is so good at that location. We can sell baskets at one go," he said.

Mr Ye added that he sees about $5,000 to $6,000 in profit every year.

On regular days, Mr Ye is a durian seller at Katong.

The Festive Street Bazaar 2019 is managed by the Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2019 Organising Committee, a sub-committee under the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens' Consultative Committee.

There will be 313 stalls filling the streets, selling all sorts of food and decorations for the Chinese New Year celebrations.

The market will be open from 6pm to 10.30pm from Jan 18 to Feb 3, and from 6pm to 1am on Feb 4, the eve of Chinese New Year.

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