Home >> Hot Issue

Chocolate town in Zhejiang serves up sweet life

Updated: 2023-01-21 15:23 ( China Daily )
Share - WeChat

In October 2014, Aficion Chocolate Town officially opened to public.Since then, it has become a major tourist complex that can manufacture 20,000 tons of chocolate annually. It receives more than 2 million visitors a year, with revenues from chocolate sales and other spending hitting 2 billion yuan.

"Aficion is a Latin word that means affection or love. The reason it was chosen for the town's name is that I hope to share a chocolate-centered happy and healthy lifestyle with more people," Mo said.

Mo's father now serves proudly as the chairman. "Without his understanding and guidance, the Aficion Chocolate Town would have never materialized," Mo said.

In the process, the local government has provided invaluable support, he said, helping him secure a land lease and handing out tax credits worth tens of millions in the early stages. In more recent years, Mo has partnered with others to develop regular study trips and educational tours for children.

At present, Aficion chocolate products are sold in stores across China,especially in the Yangtze River Delta region. They have also been well received in Southeast Asia. In addition, like many other businesses that have seized upon China's booming e-commerce, Mo and his marketing team have opened online stores on popular platforms such as Taobao, JD and Pinduoduo.

In roughly a decade, Mo's chocolates have sent sweetness not only to his customers, but to local residents.

"More than 200 jobs have been created for local villagers," he said. More than 60 percent of his employees are from nearby communities.

Entrepreneurial platforms have also been set up in the town for villagers and university graduates to start their own businesses and explore better ways to boost rural development,Mo added.

Thanks to the chocolate town, agritainment businesses in surrounding areas have also flourished. Tourists from cities such as Shanghai and Hangzhou, only about 100 kilometers distant, are often drawn to local orchards to pick their own fruit -mostly strawberries and blueberries.They stay in B&B hotels to get a taste of pastoral life.

Until 1994, Miujia village was one of 31 poverty-stricken villages in Jiashan county, with the income of its collective economy standing at less than 50,000 yuan and per capita annual income lower than 1,000 yuan. By 2021, the village's collective economic income had jumped to 14.2 million yuan, and per capita annual disposable income had grown to 53,000 yuan.

As China downgraded its COVID-19 restrictions in early January, Aficion Chocolate Town - which experienced disruptions over the past three years because of the pandemic - will introduce a variety of new products and welcome more people who seek a sweeter life through chocolate.

|<< Previous 1 2   
Hot words
Most Popular