shopping malls


shopping malls
Years of socialist transformation and economic impoverishment left China with a few large but under-stocked department stores. Most were housed in pre-1949 multi-storey buildings. Friendship Stores, built originally to cater to Soviet experts and a handful of foreigners, also provided limited goods to high-level cadres as part of a system of ‘privileged supply’ (tegong) developed during the Yan’an days of wartime rationing. They were off-limits to the masses.
While shopping provided little respite during the days of high socialism, there were educational sites that emulated Soviet models called ‘cultural palaces’ (wenhuagong). These glum arcades were indoor venues for mass edification, and many of the men and women who later became prominent cultural figures were initially trained in these ersatz entertainment centres. With the end of mass enlightenment under socialism, the shopping centre or the mall would take over the diversionary and educative functions of these old cultural palaces. The rhythms of political movements and mass mobilization campaigns have been replaced with the hectoring sales pitch of merchants, the promise of astronomical reductions, and the lure of great bargains.
While new shopping centres have mushroomed, old shopping areas have not been spared the attentions of the developers.
Yuyuan in Shanghai, with its famous garden and teahouse in the centre of a lake in the old city, blossomed into a labyrinthine shopping complex, while in Beijing the Wangfujing Boulevard (formerly known as Morrison Street, (Molisun jie), named in honour of the Australian-born journalist and political advisor George E.Morrison, d. 1920, who had lived there) underwent a radical makeover to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the People’s Republic in 1999. The trees that lined the avenue were felled and many buildings (excluding a few like the No. 1 Department Store) were razed to give rise to gargantuan and characterless shopping centres and malls, including a bland new Dong’an Market (formerly the East Wind Market, and before that a charming shopping centre beloved of old Beijing/Beiping residents). In a symbolic gesture showing that the business of the self-styled socialist state is commerce, the street was transformed and it now competes with similar renovated mall complexes at Xidan, Dongsi and numerous other locations around the city. As Beijing’s oldest shopping avenue, the pedestrian mall of Wangfujing has been ‘twinned’ with the Champs Elysées in Paris. Like many other shopping complexes it too features outlets for homogeneous global favourites like KFC, Delifrance and Starbucks.
The shopping flaneur—ready to snap up the latest fashion for self-adorament and aggrandizement—has replaced the old-style ruffians and street-smart wisecrackers of Wang Shuo’s fictional world. China has its own mallrats, and it also has the charisma to attract international wannabe flaneurs whose actual world is the maze of merchandise. While Walter Benjamin (creator of the unfinished ‘Arcades Project’) is popular among the theoretically driven connoisseurs of the Chinese street, in real life consuming commodities is not so much an act of everyday resistance to the Party-state as an endorsement of capital and the allure of material goods.
GEREMIE R.BARMÉ

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shopping malls in New Jersey — have played a major role in shaping the suburban landscape of the state following World War II.HistoryNew Jersey, the most densely populated state in the United States, and in the suburban sphere of influence of both New York City and… …   Wikipedia

  • Shopping malls in Niagara County — Niagara County, New York has two major shopping malls, Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls USA and The Summit. [ [http://www.niagara usa.com/shop/falls shop1.html Niagara USA shopping malls] ] A third mall, Rainbow Centre Factory Outlet, closed in… …   Wikipedia

  • List of shopping malls in Bangladesh — Shopping malls in Bangladesh:In Dhaka* Bashundhara City, Dhaka * Mouchak Market, Dhaka * Eastern Plaza, Dhaka * New Market, Dhaka * Rapa Plaza, Dhaka * Rifle s Square, DhakaIn Chittagong* New Market, Chittagong * Mimi Suaper Market, Chittagong *… …   Wikipedia

  • List of shopping malls in India — This is a list of notable Shopping Malls in India, segregated for State/City.=New Delhi=Ansal Plaza (Shoppers stop)Select City Walk, Lalit Manchanda Ji Ka Shopping Mall Vah bhai vah.=Andhra Pradesh=Hyderabad * Ashoka Metropolitan Mall, Banjara… …   Wikipedia

  • List of shopping malls in Canada — This article is a list of notable shopping malls in Canada by province: Opened in 1949, the first shopping mall in Canada is the Norgate shopping centre in Saint Laurent, Montreal, Quebec, which is a strip mall. The first enclosed shopping mall… …   Wikipedia

  • List of shopping malls in Malaysia — This is a list of notable shopping malls in Malaysia. There are a number of major retailers who have outlets in most malls or who give their names to local malls. These include Carrefour, Giant Hypermarket, IKEA, JUSCO, Mydin, Parkson, SOGO and… …   Wikipedia

  • List of shopping malls in the Philippines — The Retail industry in the Philippines is an important contributor to its economy as it accounts for roughly 15% of the Philippines’ total Gross National Product (GNP) and 33% of the entire services sector. It employs some 5.25 million people,… …   Wikipedia

  • List of shopping malls in Cagayan de Oro — Metro Cagayan de Oro has 15 shopping centers and 4th have most shopping mall in the Philippines. Metro Cagayan de Oro malls is a shopping malls in the city of Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. The Metro Cagayan de Oro has about 21 shopping centers and …   Wikipedia

  • Online shopping malls — are websites that have a directory of online shopping stores. Stores may include Best Buy, Aeropostale, Home Depot, Sears, Expedia, Zales, Old Navy and many more online shopping stores. Most online shopping malls offer a loyalty program in the… …   Wikipedia

  • List of shopping malls in Houston, Texas — The Greater Houston area is home to numerous regional shopping malls and shopping centers located in various areas of the city. The following is a list of shopping malls located in the city:West* First Colony Mall a regional shopping mall in… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.