The Beijing Zoo clothes market, one of the biggest garment wholesale centers in North China, has been in operation since the 1980s. During its heyday, more than 80,000 people used to come to buy clothes from 13,000 stalls every day. Part of the market is now known as Baolan Financial Innovation Center and home to five financial and high-tech enterprises.
Many garment vendors have signed the agreement to move to newly planned trade centers located in Baoding, Cangzhou, Langfang and other cities in Hebei province.
The relocation project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The plan has not only reduced the number of daily visitors to 10,000 and saved space of about 163,000 sq m, but also led to upgrading of the local economy, according to the government of Beijing’s Xicheng district.
X Control System Co Ltd settled into Baolan Financial Innovation Center in late 2016, focusing on the research and development of large military and industrial unmanned aerial vehicles.
Gu Xiaozheng, vice-president of the company, said its UAVs had roughly 20 patents and its flight control system occupied 60 percent of the domestic industrial UAV market.
“Our devices can fly for maximum 2.5 hours carrying 25 kilograms. Not many competitors can do that,” he said, adding that their annual sales revenue is 10 million yuan ($1.5 million).
Li Shixiang, vice-mayor of Beijing said at a recent meeting on Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integrated development that the removal of wholesale markets, including the Beijing Zoo clothes market, is a part of relieving industries that failed to serve the core function of the city.
As the capital, Beijing should focus on developing high-grade, precision and advanced industries instead of covering all ranges of industries, he said.
“We should keep the heart of the cabbage and cut away the other parts.”
The saved space will be used in construction, technological and cultural development and improvement of ecological environment of Beijing, he added.
The Cangzhou Mingzhu Trade City, opened in August 2014, is one of the major destinations for the former clothes wholesalers of Beijing. The project is located just one hour’s journey from Beijing by high-speed train.
Its first phase, covering 580,000 sqm of floored space, has been completed. More than 7,000 vendors have signed an agreement to move in and about 800 have started operations already.
Yu Guiting, chairman of Dongsu Group, an investor and operator in the trade zone, said: “We want to create a new business model that combines designing, processing, logistics, wholesale and retail, e-business, leisure and tourism.”
Yu said the cost of running a shop in Cangzhou was only 10 percent of that in Beijing because of lower rent and management fees.
Huang Yinfeng, 45, runs a 200 sq m shop at Mingzhu Trade City. She had sold clothes in Beijing for nearly 20 years, and is one of the earliest vendors to move the business to Cangzhou.
“I visited many destinations and finally decided to move to Cangzhou because of better policies,” she said.
According to an agreement signed with the local government in October 2016, Dongsu Group will invest 35 billion yuan to build a creative industry park centering around the garment business. It is expected to generate annual revenue of about 200 billion yuan from clothes processing and wholesale trade and create 200,000 jobs.