Beijing Time-honored Stores
Beijing as the capital of People’s Republic of China is also one of the famous ancient city throughout the history. Ever since 3,000 years ago, Beijing city had become the capital of Yan which was a subsidiary nation of Zhou Dynasty (1046BC-256BC). During the period of Tang Dynasty (618 to 907AD), major development was placed at the northern part of China and thus, enabled Beijing city to become the hub of economy or more accurately served as the business center during that period of time. Peoples from different nations brought along their products to sell at Beijing. In year 1125, after the Jin Dynasty (1115 to 1234) defeated the Liao Dynasty (907 to 1125), Beijing was officially declared as the capital of Jin Dynasty and named as Zhongdu City. After that, Yuan Dynasty (1271 to 1368), Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1911) were all set their capital in Beijing. Therefore, Beijing has been the capital of the dynasties throughout the years as well as served as the political, economic and the cultural center of the nation.
Beijing as one of the six major ancient cities in China has contributed a lot in creation of magnificent and cultural buildings. The old time-honored stores as a result of trading culture upon that ancient age had played important roles in the development of cultural buildings in Beijing. After Beijing was declared as the capital in Ming Dynasty, the inner city wall was then constructed. For security reason, upon era of Jiajing in year 1553, the outer city wall was built. The location as well as the shape of the overall city walls which surrounded Beijing city is basically remained until today.
During that period of time, besides inland transportation, Beijing could be reached by the Grand Canal which headed directly into the inner city. Due to the convenience of transportation, traders from all over the nation began to start their business in Beijing. Finally many busy business streets were formed in Beijing, such as the Xidan Street, Dongsi Street and Gulou Street. According to the record of Mingxuande, there were 27 thousands traders who moved from Nanjing to Beijing for business purposes. They had built their shops and opened for business at Qianmen and Gulou which were the busiest business streets in Beijing during that period of time. As a result, products throughout China could be found in Beijing. The name of old hutongs in Beijing which remain unchanged until today such as Suzhou Hutong, Zhenjiang Hutong, Shaanxi Hutong as well as Shanxi Hutong are the best evidence for this part of history.
Due to the rapid growth of trading and business in Beijing, some brands and chain stores were formed. According to the history, the shop such as Heniantang Medicine Shop and Liubiju Sauces House with their plague written by the Prime Minister of Ming Dynasty is still remained in business even until today. In Qing Dynasty, especially during the conquered period of Emperor Kangxi and Emperor Qianlong, the trading and business industry in Beijing had reached a peak throughout the development history. The famous old feature stores such as the famous Muslim restaurants Yueshengzhai and Kaorouyuan, Tongrentang Chinese Medicine Shop, Majuyuan Hat Shop, Rongbaozhai and Huguang Huiguan were all famous shops during Qing Dynasty which still successfully maintain their business until today.
Besides that, the status of Beijing as the capital and economy center of China for over 800 years has provided a better environment for these old time-honored stores to keep on development which finally enabled Beijing to be one of the top destinations with the most old feature stores throughout the nation. The old time-honored stores are not only an outcome of the business development in Beijing but also a very important historical and cultural heritage in China.
Beijing which served as the ancient capital of previous dynasties and the capital of People’s Republic of China has embedded with a deep range of history. Most of the old time-honored stores had written their wonderful history throughout the development history of Beijing. At the same time, many famous personnel throughout the history had visited these type of shops included the emperors of previous dynasties, scholars as well as the entire leaders of People’s Republic of China. All of them have added wonderful colors to the development of time-honored stores in Beijing while ensuring these unique stores to become one of the attractive cultures of Beijing.
Moreover, some development history of these time-honored stores was written in books and perhaps on movie nowadays. Their stories and famous among the Beijing locals and now have turned to be one of the interesting stories throughout the nation especially after the broadcast of the TV drama or movie. Although most of the stores were not originated in Beijing but from other cities, their products as well as their services had been deeply integrated into the life of Beijing locals and became a part of their living which cannot be separated. In fact, most of the time-honored stores in Beijing were originated throughout the nation of China. As a result, the unique culture from different places of China had mingled together with Beijing local culture and formed a very unique Beijing culture. Famous silk roducts from Suzhou and Hangzhou, tea which produces only in Anhui Province, ceramics from Jiangxi, seafood products from Guangzhou, dishes from north eastern part of China, Chinese medical herbs which found only in Shanxi Province as well as delicious snacks throughout the nation can all be found in Beijing. No matter where are you from, you will definitely find the famous local dishes of your hometown as long as you are here in Beijing.
All these old time-honored stores in Beijing had contributed for business culture in Beijing. The development process of old feature stores in Beijing had later outcome with their unique style of management which led to the birth of brands. This type of brands can be considered as precious assets which are incomparable with the other international brands nowadays. In past decades, only royal families as well as the riches niche was afford to wear hats manufactured by Majuyuan Hat Shop with Neiliansheng Shoes and Badaxiang clothes. The products from these three shops could be considered as luxurious brands during that time. Wearing products from either one of these shops were a sign of lifestyle and this was the power of brands during that period of time.
However, these time-honored stores had encountered serious drop during reformation period of China. New names were set to replace their original names and part of their unique business styles was questioned which caused a large number of losses to these types of old stores. The new era especially after the formation of People’s Republic of China, most of the time honored stores had chosen to reuse their old names and through the benefits of being traditional brands, these types of stores were standing at higher starting points when compared to other new born shops. The research of Beijing old time honored stores as well as the heritage of unique business style has speed up the development potential of these old time-honored stores to be one of the attractive cultural heritages in Beijing.