Aisulu grimaces while talking about the gauntlet she has been thrown by foreign competitors. “The Chinese say, ‘You took away our market, we will find a way to bring it back. We will produce clothes that are even cheaper than yours.’ She owns a textile workshop in the outskirts of Bishkek. The sewing machines are made in China (“They cost much less than the Japanese ones,” she says) and a dozen young women are working away producing women’s padded coats, which are oversize for local consumption because Aisulu’s target customers are junoesque Russian buyers.
Hopes and fears on people’s Silk Road in Kyrgyzstan