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Former industrial sites resurrected as colorful and artistic attractions

By YUAN SHENGGAO | China Daily | Updated: 2020-09-05 15:49
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Beijing's publicity department recently announced a list of 100 recognized municipal-level cultural industrial parks. Thirty-two of them are located in Chaoyang district, which shows the district's strong industrial and creative muscle.

Sixteen of the Chaoyang-based parks are from the National Cultural Innovation Zone, a pivotal platform in the district for institution innovation to improve Beijing's cultural industry. The zone was approved by the then Ministry of Culture, which has been renamed the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

"It is an honor to have our park's name on the list. It's the result of joint efforts by both the park's operational team and cultural businesses in it," said an executive at Langyuan Vintage, a key cultural industrial park in the zone.

"Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have launched a variety of innovative services to help local businesses alleviate pressure and resume operations," he said.

The innovative online services include lectures by drama and music masters, a Kunqu Opera contest and regular livestreams. They have helped to spur spending on cultural services and products, injecting vigor into businesses in the park, local media reported.

To date, Langyuan Vintage has livestreamed more than 70 times, totaling over 140 hours, according to official data. Such livestreams have become a regular service in the park, local of cials said.

Another cultural landmarks in Chaoyang, the 798 Art District and 751D Park, make the list.

The 798 zone was transformed from abandoned State-owned plants, including Factory 798 which originally produced electronics.

After redeveloping the industrial space, the 798 zone is now home to a cluster of galleries, art centers, artists' studios, design firms, restaurants and bars, attracting throngs of visitors.

Acting as a magnet for art enthusiasts, the zone hosts more than 100 cultural events throughout the year, drawing over 500,000 visits.

Adjacent to 798 Art District stands 751D Park, which mainly focuses on the fashion design industry. An old locomotive standing in the square at the park indicates its industrial legacy. The park evolved from old sites of Factory 751, which had provided power and heat for certain production and research facilities, as well as nearby neighborhoods.

Nowadays, 751D Park is home to a great number of designers' studios, as well as supporting businesses. It hosts a series of major events, including the China Fashion Week and an annual electronic music festival, and has become a key venue for fashion designers, brand launches, trade and exhibitions in Beijing.

"Such parks built on old industrial sites can expand the city's cultural space and industrial chain of creative culture," said Mei Song, director of Beijing's cultural and creative industry promotion center.

In Chaoyang district, 94 featured cultural industrial parks are in operation, 60 of them transformed from old industrial sites covering more than 3. 55 million square meters.

Cai Qi, Party secretary of Beijing, said on an inspection trip to Chaoyang in mid-August that a cultural industrial park also needs to incorporate technological applications. He encourages local companies to raise their position in the cultural industrial chain by combining cultural business with technology and finance.

Government data show that the district is home to more than 68,000 cultural businesses, including 76 listed companies, five high-growth unicorn startups each valued at over $1 billion and 253 corporate headquarters, 127 of them established by multinationals.

On the country's 2019-20 lists of key export-oriented cultural businesses and projects, 16 exporters and 10 projects are from Chaoyang, accounting for 40 and 56 percent of the city's total respectively.

From January to June, major cultural companies in Chaoyang generated a combined revenue of 91.9 billion yuan ($13.48 billion). Online operations are a crucial engine behind the business boom.


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