China / Society

Famous Beijing wholesale market's relocation moving apace

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-12-03 11:04

BEIJING - The relocation of a renowned wholesale market in downtown Beijing will be completed by the end of 2016, vacating about 300,000 square meters and moving about 30,000 workers out to less crowded suburbs, the local government said on Wednesday.

The Zoo Market in Xicheng District is gradually being shut down and relocated to neighboring Hebei Province in a move to reduce traffic congestion and population density in the capital. The project forms part of a broader plan for the integration of Beijing, Hebei and Tianjin Municipality.

By the end of 2015, 200,000 square meters will be freed up as the number of booths in the market is being reduced by about 60 percent.

The relocation project is also intended to disperse a floating population of 50,000 to 100,000, according to Lu Yingchuan, secretary of the Xicheng District Committee of the Communist Party of China.

He said the government is aiming to fill the former market buildings with "high-end businesses" and use some of the space for greenland and public services.

The government is hoping the former market area will become a venue for financial, cultural and creative activities.

The nearby Tianhaocheng Market has already been closed and transformed into a "financial innovation center" intended to accommodate fewer personnel but have much more output value. Companies are expected to begin moving in by the end of the year.

Xicheng will coordinate with Tianjin and Hebei to provide services and business opportunities for vendors told to move out of the Zoo Market, said Sun Shuo with the Xicheng District Committee.

Built in the mid-1980s, the Zoo Market was a hit with young people wanting to look fashionable on a budget.

Times change however, and the relocation kicked off last year. In 2014, the number of booths in the market was slashed by 1,300, or 10 percent. Daily customers at the market have decreased from more than 50,000 at its peak time to about 10,000.

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