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Shanghai to convert landmark ‘cheap’ fashion market
Designer labels elbow out cheap price tags as Qipu Lu market faces the axe
Shanghai authorities are set to convert historic Qipu Lu (七浦路) market -- a mecca for cheap clothes -- into an upscale fashion center, reported Shanghai Daily.
Situated on the border of Shanghai’s Huangpu, Zhabei and Hongkou districts, the Qipu Lu market, whose Mandarin pronunciation resembles “cheap” in English, is the biggest fashion wholesale market in Shanghai.
Legend has it that its trading history can be traced to the Qing Dynasty.
Officials from Shanghai’s Bureau of Planning and Land Resources told Shanghai Daily that the kilometer-long street will be “transformed into a creative, high-end fashion center with entertainment venues, parks and offices, plus an upgraded shopping mall for clothes.”
Instead of the cheap daily wear the market currently sells, the new Qipu Lu will give room to “famous domestic brands.”
"The low-end face of the market had to be lifted for the urban plan to turn a 3.2-square-kilometer area near the market into an international business district," an official surnamed Gu told the press.
Local shoppers, on the other hand, loathe the idea.
An online poll showed that 70 percent of Shanghainese opposed to the plan after the Zhabei district government hinted that the man-in-the-street's fashion mart might go upper class.
“I hope Qipu Lu can keep its style, so those who like bargains or don’t earn a lot of money can have an ‘Eden’ in downtown,” an anonymous shopper told Eastday.com.
Most netizens agreed that Shanghai "citizens just need a place like that to sell cheap products."
While officials have displayed plenty of ambition to add class to Qipu Lu, no specific timeline has been released for the street’s transformation.