Beijing has rolled out a raft of measures to establish a group of nighttime landmarks, aiming to meet the growing demand of consumers in the capital late at night, according to a plan released on Friday by the capital's commerce bureau.
By the end of 2021, a bunch of nighttime business districts and living areas will be set up throughout the capital, which is expected to be featured as part of a world-renowned "Night Capital" consumer brand, said Sun Yao, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Commerce. The capital's public transport lines will also extend their operating hours on Fridays and Saturdays from May to October every year, starting July 19.
Late-night canteens along major subway lines will be further developed, and the 24-hour convenience stores, bookstores and movie theaters in the capital's urban and rural districts will be expanded to spur the nighttime economy, according to Sun.
He said a nighttime consumption guide for the capital will be drafted, and measures to prevent potential economic risks at night will be established soon.
Some scenic spots in the capital will extend their opening times by one to two hours, according to the plan. A series of nighttime performances will also be carried out in famous tourist attractions, such as the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and the Olympic Forest Park.
Sun said the capital will at first place four landmark designations - the historical Qianmen Street and the nearby Dashilar area, Sanlitun, Guomao and Wukesong - on the list to build the night consumer brand.
The Tiantongyuan and Huilongguan neighborhoods in Beijing's northern suburb are scheduled to be among the first batch of nighttime living areas, he added. Local infrastructure and equipped facilities will be established in the communities.
According to Sun, since the beginning of this year, many districts in Beijing have introduced a series of measures to boost the transformation and upgrade of traditional business districts. Beijing saw nearly 1.1 trillion yuan ($159 billion) in market consumption from January to May this year, a year-on-year increase of 7.9 percent. Among them, service consumption amounted to roughly 632 billion yuan and the total retail sales of social consumer goods reached about 457 billion yuan.
The nighttime economy refers to business activities between 6 pm and 6 am in the service sector. Many other Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Tianjin, have introduced plans to boost their nighttime economy.
Beijing will extend operations of metro line 1 and line 2 for an extra one hour and 1.5 hours respectively, with the last trains departing after 12:30 am, according to the plan. Both lines run through some of the busiest shopping areas such as Wangfujing and Xidan.
Experts said that domestic scenic spots currently have much room for improvement in the quantity and quality of their nighttime offerings.
Yang Honghao, director of the China Tourism Academy Industrial Research Institute, said boosting nighttime tourism will encourage visitors to stay longer, which will further spur nighttime consumption.
"A good nighttime tourism brand should not only focus on lightning projects but also target brand building to fully consider the available resources in the city," he said, adding that the key functions of nighttime tourism should also be clarified to develop urban-oriented nighttime traveling offerings.