A conference aimed at promoting the protection and industrial development of ancient architecture kicked off Thursday in Huangshan, a city in east China's Anhui Province, famous for its Hui-style architecture.
Around 450 representatives, including experts and scholars from UNESCO, the Palace Museum, China Construction Industry Association as well as businesspersons from relevant industries, attended the opening ceremony.
The event, first of its kind in Huangshan, includes a keynote conference, a forum on the development of Hui-style ancient architecture and architectural skills, business matchmaking and field trips.
Initiated by Huangshan City, an industry alliance of ancient architectures was established at the conference, including 10 cities such as Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province, Yangzhou of Jiangsu Province and more.
Huangshan has many well-preserved Hui-style buildings dating back to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties that feature black roof tiles and white walls with exquisite wood, stone and brick carvings.
The two popular villages of Xidi and Hongcun were listed as world cultural heritage sites for their ancient Hui-style buildings.
Huangshan is also striving to build a digital database of ancient buildings that includes photos, videos and design papers. More than 56,300 photos covering 8,037 ancient Hui-style architectures have been collected so far, according to local authorities.
The market size of China's ancient architecture industry has increased at an average annual rate of over 15 percent in recent years from approximately 61.6 billion yuan (about 9.5 billion U.S. dollars) in 2015, according to a report on the investment prospect of China's ancient architecture industry.
Over 4.4 billion yuan has been invested to protect and utilize local ancient architectures in Huangshan since 2014.
"There are more than 200 companies that are involved in the ancient architecture industry in Huangshan, and they are becoming stronger day by day. We will spare no effort to inherit and promote these architectural skills, and achieve integrated development of various fields such as planning, design, research and construction," said Ling Yun, Party chief of Huangshan City.