Most of the large shopping areas now found in Beijing reflect relatively recent socio-economic developments, such as Xidan Commercial Circle, Sanlitun Commercial Circle, the Olympic Commercial Circle, the Zhongguancun area, Gongzhufen Commercial Circle and the Central Business District. But they are part of a much longer commercial tradition epitomized by the historic Wangfujing and Qianmen-Dashila commercial areas. Together, these new and old commercial establishments symbolize today’s Beijing and its newfound prosperity.
Wangfujing Commercial Circle
Wangfujing Avenue is a bustling pedestrian shopping mall and a place where old and new blend perfectly. It’s a wonderful place just to sit, take a sip of tea while people watching, because people here come from all across China and from around the world. As one of the oldest shopping streets in Beijing, Wangfujing features many time-honored brand stores, most of which are more than 100 years old. International brands, fantastic shops, cinemas and restaurants, bookstores and an old, refurbished western-styled church epitomize modern Beijing. In the early evening, check out the “snack street” on the north side of Donghuamen Avenue, east of Wangfujing Avenue. Check out Wangfujing’s bookstore to get the latest best-selling novels, the works of masters of literature and language books.
Qianmen-Dashila Commercial Circle
As one of the oldest commercial circles in Beijing, the Qianmen-Dashila shopping area has reflected the city’s sometimes-turbulent history. Many China time-honored brands have welcomed customers for generations here. With recent renovations and continuing development, this centuries-old shopping area is booming once again, because of its historic atmosphere and new conveniences.
Xidan Commercial Circle
The Xidan Commercial Circle, located north of west Chang’an Avenue, is the most intensive shopping area in Beijing. It offers a wide range of shopping options. Xidan has five big shopping centers including the Chung-Yo Shopping Center, Xidan Shopping Center, Grand Pacific, Joy City and Maison Mode, and Beijing’s biggest bookstore, the Beijing Books Building (see its excellent imported books section in the basement area).
Sanlitun Commercial Circle
Located in eastern Chaoyang District, Sanlitun is placed with popular bars, clubs and restaurants that enjoy a high reputation both with expatriates and locals. Also found here are name-branded outlets such as an Apple Store, adidas, BMW, Columbia and North Face sports stores. It also contains art and cultural centers.
Sanlitun Village is an impressive example of innovative architecture including two parts. The Village South houses popular fashion brands like Uniqlo, Steven Madden, Esprit, Mango, an Apple Store and an adidas flagship store, along with 30 restaurants and a multiplex cinema. The more upscale Village North is home to a number of high-end labels and local designer boutiques, including Emporio Armani, Montblanc, Diesel and Shanghai Trio.
Olympic Commercial Circle
“It is the most thorough change since Kublai started building the city in the 13th century”, a French media commentator said of the Olympic Commercial Circle in northern Beijing, where the 1990 Asian Games and the “truly remarkable” 2008 Olympic Games were held.
Zhongguancun Commercial Circle
Zhongguancun, China’s leading hub for scientific and technological innovation, is based in Haidian District. Since 2006, a number of commercial projects have gotten underway in this area, thereby diversifying Zhongguancun’s economic and commercial modes.
Gongzhufen Commercial Circle
Gongzhufen is a major traffic and public transportation hub in Haidian District, western Beijing. Its name literally means “tomb of princess”. The area houses several shopping centers, such as the Cuiwei Mansion and Beijing Urban-Rural Trade Center, with nearby landmarks including the CCTV Tower and China Military Museum.
CBD Commercial Circle
The Beijing Central Business District is designed to accommodate international brand-name companies coming to Beijing to establish representative offices or other business operations.