Retail Structure of Beijing
By Dr. Shuguang Wang and Dr. Ken Jones
Retailing always has been a prominent element of urban morphology. As a city evolves and expands, so does its retail sector. Historically, the spatial pattern of urban retail growth has experienced a centrifugal shift or activity from central city locations to more peripheral areas. Typically, the forces that are associated with this shift include the suburbanization of population growth, increased personal mobility, greater disposable incomes, changes in transportation technologies, and favourable government land use policies.
Since the economic reforms began in 1978, Chinese cities have experienced an enormous transformation. To date, the literature associated with the Chinese urban transformation has focused on such topics as: population growth and migration; urbanization and suburbanization; manufacturing; housing; and urban development and land use change. Surprisingly, given the nature of economic reforms in China towards a more market-oriented system, little attention has been paid to the resultant changes in urban retail structure. At its current level of development and in the present political climate, retailing in China is still largely localized. The retail structure varies from one market to another. This trend is especially noticeable among large urban centres where the retail structure tends to be the most sophisticated. For this reason, a detail structural analysis of the commercial system at metropolitan level is essential.