The unfolding economic woes have sent tens of thousands of migrant workers returning home to search for jobs in Nanchang, the capital city of eastern China's Jiangxi province. Many of them are busy attending training courses or shuttling between job fairs, but some begin to relish the advantages of being his own boss.
Zhao Kun has more.
Wang Zhiyuan opened his store in early 2008 after he returned home from Dongguan, Guangdong Province where he used to work for a manufacturing factory.
He divides his sales counters into square cells about 30 meters broad and 40 meters tall. He rents these cells out to people who are willing to put their goods up for sale.
"I came across a cell-renting store when I was window-shopping in Dongguan. It originated from there."
Wang Zhiyuan's store has more than 120 cells for rent and he generally charges depending on their positions in the store, the cheapest being about 70 yuan, or a little over 10 US dollars.
"For those cells at the window showcase near the entrance of the store I charge 300 yuan a month. While the rents for the ordinary ones are comparably lower."
He says the renters are mostly white collar workers or college students.
"They don't have to worry about any thing, they just have to leave their goods here and go to school or work."
The items on sale range from clothes, electronic gadgets to nail polishes and earrings.
The store's target customers are college students and that's why he chose to open his store where at least three universities are located.
Weekends are the busiest time for him as shoppers especially girls jam into the small yet neatly decorated store.
Yang Xin is a sophomore from Nanchang Education College.
"The articles here are unique compared to those brand products and the prices are reasonable. I heard many college students have put their handicrafts for sale in such shops."
The girl says she is also planning to rent one of the cells and try her luck.
The new style of business is gaining popularity. According to a local newspaper, the 'Information Times', more than fourteen stores are providing counter cells for rent today.
Wang Zhiyuan is among the earliest to start the business. But his ambitions stretch far beyond that.
"I hope to open more chain stores in the future and build my own brand."
Zhao Kun, CRI News, Nanchang