Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Monday, Sep 12, 2016

China’s first State-owned friendship store to undergo renovation in wake of ongoing sales slump

(People's Daily Online)    11:53, September 12, 2016
China’s first State-owned friendship store to undergo renovation in wake of ongoing sales slump
(A salesperson stands behind counter at Beijing Friendship Store. Photo: Courtesy of Li Jia/Beijing Youth Daily)

Business at Beijing Friendship Store, China’s very first friendship store, has been undeniably gloomy as of late. Fortunately, the store is likely facing a renovation in the near future, with the project currently awaiting municipal government approval.

A tour of the store, which sits on Chang’an Avenue, a major thoroughfare in Beijing, evokes a feeling of nostalgia and history, according to a report by Beijing Youth Daily. The article stated that the four-story outlet mainly stocks calligraphy, paintings, jewelry, silk carpets and other art pieces. During the four-hour tour, few customers were present to occupy the sales personnel, many of who sat idling or chatting with one another.

Some of the goods, priced at thousands of yuan, were collecting dust behind the counters, their tags yellowish and dusty. On the third floor, roughly one-third of the light bulbs were burnt out, the report described.

Friendship stores were first opened in a handful of Chinese cities in the 1950s. In the early days, they sold exclusively to tourists, foreigners, diplomats and government officials; ordinary citizens were granted access to the stores starting in the 1990s. The Beijing Friendship Store, which opened in 1964, used to boast the best, rarest and most popular products. Salespeople were required to speak foreign languages, especially Japanese and English, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

Inevitably, though, stores born in the age of a planned economy have taken a major hit from the e-commerce competitors. According to salespeople at the friendship store, some foreign tourists occasionally still visit, in search of high-quality and fairly priced products. However, this minimal business does not allow employees to meet their sales requirements.

Now, a new project called Friendship Plaza is being planned to take over the original friendship store location. Friendship Plaza is expected to rise 11 floors above the ground and become a major commercial facility on Chang’an Avenue, according to a project blueprint published on July 23.

The project will cost about 193.5 million yuan, and construction is slated to take place from September 2016 to January 2019, according to the blueprint, which is still awaiting approval. 


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor: Jiang Jie,Bianji)

Add your comment

Most Viewed


Hot News

We Recommend


prev next

Related reading