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Chinese pedestrian zones embrace huge opportunities, drive urban development

(People's Daily Online)    15:06, February 12, 2019

Wangfujing Pedestrian Street in Beijing (Photo/Chinanews.com)

Though e-commerce has placed huge pressure on off-line retailing, China’s pedestrian zones are still playing an important part by offering unique consumption experiences.

Pedestrian zones are the headstream of urban business, and a cluster district of various commercial resources, said Zheng Wen, director-general of the Department of Circulation Industry Development under China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).

They not only serve local citizens but also attract foreign visitors, playing an important role in satisfying people’s needs and enriching cities’ functions, he added.

Thanks to such features, pedestrian zones would not be very much impacted by the emerging online shopping trends, and would probably become new growth points, Zheng said.

“This area gathers many shops and food, and it is a famous tourist attraction in Beijing,” said Fan Yangnan, a student who has studied in Beijing for five years, when describing Nanluoguxiang, a well-known pedestrian zone in Beijing. He takes the place as a must-see spot.

MOFCOM data indicated that China was home to more than 2,100 pedestrian zones that occupy an area of over 20,000 square meters each. 600 of them are located in 36 major cities.

At the beginning of 2019, 11 pedestrian zones across the country were selected for a pilot upgrading program. Many of them have already become celebrated places for visitors.

The program is expected to build these pedestrian zones into high-quality development platforms, signboards for urban development, as well as strong support to satisfy people’s growing demand for a better life.

However, pedestrian zones are also facing challenges. “The lack of differentiation and high prices are prevalent issues faced by Chinese pedestrian zones,” said Yang Song, director of economic studies department of Beijing Academy of Social Sciences. He believes there’s more for Chinese pedestrian zones to do to showcase local history and commercial features better.

Studies suggest tthat after upgrading and renovation, the 11 pilot pedestrian zones are expected to receive over 1 billion people annually, and their total revenue might go up to 100 billion yuan. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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