Most consumers have long-considered Beijing’s Zhongguancun area to be among the best spots to buy electronics on the cheap. Zhongguancun, however, is looking to change focus from bricks-and-mortar to a tech and innovation hub.
In the next three to five years, about 150,000 square meters of retail space selling electronics in the western area of Zhongguancun will be phased out by local authorities.
In its place will be a 7.2 kilometer “innovation boulevard” anticipated to be a business hub for technological financing, start-ups, innovation incubators, smart hardware, and creative culture. The boulevard will include 36 office buildings expected to house more than 6,000 tech companies.
Zhongguancun has lost much of its lustre over the last few years as e-commerce sites have cut into sales of many of the area’s brick and mortar stores. And while many stores have disappeared, others have adapted: in June 2014, a 220-meter section of Zhongguancun changed its economic model to attract some 40 companies serving business startups. Called “Innoway”, it has become a landmark for grassroots entrepreneurs in the capital.
“After the transformation, the street will be a window for the outside world to see the startups and achievements in innovation at Zhongguancun,” said Yan Xiumin, deputy director of the Zhongguancun Haidian Park.