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Once part of the furniture, an old market will get a new lease of life

October 09, 2018 |

What was the largest furniture market in northwest Shanghai was shut down yesterday after long-standing complaints about safety and illegal construction.

The Jeshing furniture market at 185 Tongchuan Rd, Putuo District, was first opened in June 2000 and became the main supplier to many local hotels. In its heyday, more than 1,000 stores sold furniture, as well as hotel accessories and construction materials.

It will be demolished and replaced with new commercial and cultural facilities for the future Zhenru subcenter. The subcenter is intended to be on par with other downtown commercial hubs such as Xujiahui in Xuhui District and Wujiaochang in Yangpu.

The furniture market contributed a great deal to Putuo’s economic development, but also created issues with pollution, safety and unlicensed businesses, the district government said yesterday.

The market covered 76,000 square meters but had some 150,000 square meters of illegal structures. Some business owners lived inside the market, posing a fire risk. Small eateries and hostels also operated in the market, creating smoke and noise issues for surrounding suburbs.

The market also had a large container yard with 142 containers used as temporary warehouses for furniture and other construction materials.

“The city’s comprehensive hotline 12345 received a large number of complaints against the market from residents living nearby in recent years,” said Yao Jun, a director with the community management office of the Putuo government.

The district government started the shutdown procedure on April 3. Nearly all the store owners have now left, and the containers are being gradually moved out.

People had mixed emotions about the closure, as the market supplied cheap products of moderate quality.

During the National Day holiday which ended on Sunday, crowds swooped on clearance sales.

A local photographer, who gave his name as Liu, said he bought three stainless steel wares, a stone bowl, two soup pots and other cooking accessories for a total of 120 yuan (US$17.31) on Sunday. He said it was “the best shopping experience” of the holiday.

Li Bingbing, a staff member of furniture store Home Legend, said they had sold more than 200,000 yuan of wooden furniture last month to loyal customers.

Most store owners were still reluctant to leave, though the market is almost empty.

Tang Linxin, the 53-year-old boss of a porcelain store named Yayi, sat alone inside his empty shop after the official shutdown.

“The place is like a home to me. I’ve been staying in the store between 8am and 9pm every day for a decade,” said Tang. He came to Shanghai with his son in 2009 from Fuzhou, east China’s Jiangxi Province, which is famous for its porcelain production.

Before the shutdown, the daily sales of his store could reach about 30,000 yuan, and even some five-star hotels bought porcelain wares from him, Tang said proudly.

All his remaining wares will be transported to his new store on Cao’an Avenue, also in Putuo.

“I have the confidence to make the business grow again in the new place, because the market helped me build a good reputation among many customers,” Tang said.

The shutdown of the market is part of the Putuo government’s efforts to remove old market places and replace them with upmarket facilities. It has closed down the Tongchuan Road Fish Market and the Caojiadu Flower Market.

The fish market is being developed into one of the largest greenbelts in downtown, while the former flower market will become a major electronic sports center.