SEOUL, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Influenced by South Korea's current plan to deploy Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, South Korea's trade and tourism industries in recent months have been witnessing downturns too bitter to taste for many companies and businesses here.
In a street full of shoe workshops in Seongsu Dong, Seongdong District of Seoul, Park Dong-Hee still remembers how close she had been with her Chinese business partners.
"I started working with those shoe makers in Wenzhou of China four years ago, we had very good cooperation and we became friends," the owner of Sengdong Shoe Company said, showing photos with her Chinese partners in her smart phone.
"We had plans to export South Korean shoes to China and vise versa, but now everything stopped. Why would something like THAAD happen?"
China's market revenue accounted for 30 percent of Park's company income last year. This year's total revenue until now is only 40 percent of the figure in the same period of last year.
"If the situation continues for one year or two, I'm afraid all shoe factories here have no choice but shutdown," She said.
According to the survey conducted on 597 firms in tourism and retail markets by Korea International Trade Association, 56.2 percent of the respondents said their businesses has been negatively affected by China's reaction to THAAD deployment, with 32.9 percent responding that they would feel the influence in the next three months.
In Myeongdong, a tourist attraction full of retail shops and snack stands in downtown Seoul, the shops and vendors are still busy, but the streets are not as hustle and bustle as before.
"The tourists are less than before," a tourist police officer said.
A shop assistant working in Daiso, a retail chain store in Myeongdong, said Chinese buyers often came here in large group to find souvenirs. But now she seldom saw Chinese in group, only local people and some tourists from Japan and Southeast Asia.
"The cashier counter was often full of people in lines, now you don't need to queue up to pay the money," she added.
South Korea's largest duty-free store Lotte Duty Free saw its sales drop 25 percent during March 18 and 19 compared to the same period last year. It once had maintained a hefty growth of 20 percent in this year on an annual basis.
In a press conference held by South Korean presidential candidate and the mayor of Seongnam City Lee Jae-myung, business representatives from Dongdaemun and Myeongdong markets expressed their anxiety about THAAD deployment and asked for halt.
A businessman from Dongdaemun said his market had over 10,000 shops selling clothes. The sharp decrease of Chinese customers worries those shop owners, who had to close their business if the situation doesn't change.
In this conference, Lee Jae-myung said the deployment of THAAD is no use for South Korea's national security. Only the United States benefits from this, both South Korea and China suffer, he added.
Park Dong-Hee plans to find other foreign markets to make up for the loss. She said she is a business person; she doesn't want to talk about politics and doesn't know what THAAD is doing here.
"But South Korea and China are close neighbors; Chinese companies are best partner for their South Korean counterparts. I really hope the two countries can work in harmony and reach a win-win result," she said.