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August 25, 2011

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High-end fashion planned for cheap road

Qipu Road, a well-known market for cheap clothes, will be transformed into a creative, high-end fashion center with entertainment venues, parks and offices, plus an upgraded shopping mall for clothes, officials said yesterday.

The 1-kilometer-long road spanning Zhabei and Hongkou districts will also have wedding photo studios and hotels, while shop windows will display garments of famous domestic brands, said Sun Yu, an official with the Bureau of Planning and Land Resources.

The change to higher-tier brands comports with Zhabei government plans to turn the region into a financial center, said a planning official surnamed Wang with the Zhabei commerce commission.

A new e-commerce platform will also be established for the new market where consumers and wholesalers can buy and trade clothes online, Wang told Shanghai Daily.

The Qipu Road Garment Market - also known as "Cheap Road Market" among foreigners - includes 10 malls mostly doing wholesale business. The malls attract tens of thousands of customers on an average day, with daily numbers reaching 200,000 during holidays.

The district government hinted in May that the popular market might become "high end," despite an online survey showing that more than 70 percent of local people opposed the plan because they said "citizens just need a place like that to sell cheap products."

"The low-end face of the market had to be lifted for the urban plan to turn a 3.2-squre-kilometer area near the market into an international business district," said another official with the commission surnamed Gu.

The area along the city's Suzhou Creek is planned as an urban center for Shanghai's financial sector and international companies by 2015, the planning bureau said on its website. The bureau will publicize the plan until September 21 and received public opinions.

The creek waterfront will become an eco-friendly corridor for sightseeing and relaxation, with five parks and several yachting marinas, Sun said.

Sightseeing cruises will travel along the waterway by 2015, she added.

Old buildings, including many traditional shikumen (stone-gated) houses of Shanghai, will be renovated and be used mostly as art and cultural centers. Residents now living in the buildings will be moved out soon, Sun said.

The decades-old Sihang Warehouse on Guangfu Road alongside the creek will house a new museum and be restored, and it will also be home to creative companies and studios, Sun said.


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