China Daily reports that, “The managers of Nanluoguxiang, one of Beijing’s most popular streets with a 742-year history, plan to restrict the number of bars and cafes in the popular tourist precinct.”
According to the story, the vice-director of the government office that manages the street, says the plan is to “work with rich entertainment companies to turn the street in an area promoting popular culture.” The article further states:
“All businesses in Nanluoguxiang contribute a total of no more than 500,000 yuan in tax every year,” [vice director] Yu said.
“There are more than 120 shops registered in this area, but they are all family businesses. To play up the cultural aspect of the area, we would prefer to cooperate with entertainment companies and performance theaters with a strong cultural background.”
“We will use a total of 13 million yuan to develop the quality and diversity of culture represented by the street by 2011,” he said.
Yes, “rich” entertainment companies fit the feel of Nanluoguxing instead of those pesky family business. Um, maybe not.
The China Daily cites one of the owners:
“The rent for a 30-sq-m shop was 1,000 yuan per month back in 2005, but now I have to pay more than 10,000 yuan. The rent has been raised by 10 times, which makes my business tougher,” said Yin Qi, owner of Chinese painting shop Color Together….
“I mainly relay on my regular customers to maintain my business, and I am worried that I could even lose them if Nanluoguxiang changes to a so-called culture featured street without the traditional Chinese art elements.”
I think the real problem is that too many people are having a good time in Nanluoguxiang. In other words, the place works. We can’t be having that now, can we?
(Hat tip to Vegemite Vinyl)