Big World Amuse­ment Park to re­open in 2017

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By XU JUN­QIAN in Shang­hai

xu­jun­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Shang­hai’s most iconic in­door amuse­ment park, Big World Amuse­ment Park Shang­hai, will re­open its doors in 2017, as re­vealed by for­mer of­fi­cials of the mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment on Jan 14, a day af­ter Walt Dis­ney Co and its Chi­nese part­ner an­nounced the June 16 of­fi­cial open­ing date of the Shang­hai Dis­ney­land.

Si­t­u­ated in a prime lo­ca­tion in the heart of Shang­hai, the com­pound was built in 1917 by the city’s fa­mous to­bacco ty­coon, Huang Chu­jiu. Re­garded as the largest en­ter­tain­ment fa­cil­ity in Shang­hai, the de­vel­op­ment was in the 1930’s taken over and op­er­ated by Huang Jin­rong, the most pow­er­ful mafia head in the city. The park has been such an in­te­gral part of so­ci­ety that many lo­cals used to say that a visit to Shang­hai is never com­plete with­out a trip to the Big World, or Da Shi Jie.

Home to fun fairs, cin­e­mas, restau­rants, shop­ping malls, live Chi­nese tra­di­tional opera and even a cir­cus, the 14,000-square-me­ter park had ex­pe­ri­enced sev­eral ups and downs in its his­tory and was most re­cently closed in May 2003 for ren­o­va­tions and a re­think of busi­ness strate­gies.

Big World Amuse­ment Park Shang­hai is made up of three four-floor build­ings and two wings con­nected to one an­other. Atop one of the main build­ings stands a multi-lay­ered hexagon tower con­sist­ing of 12 yel­low pil­lars, which used to be a land­mark in the city.

Dao Shum­ing, di­rec­tor of the Mu­nic­i­pal’s As­so­ci­a­tion for Friend­ship with For­eign Coun­tries, said that the Huangpu district, where the park is lo­cated, has set up a com­pany to of­fer the build­ings in the com­pound a facelift “for its 100th birth­day”, and that ren­o­va­tions have al­ready started.

Des­ig­nated as an ar­chi­tec­tural relic by the mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment, the com­pound looks to have weath­ered the ef­fects of time well, show­ing only mi­nor signs of dam­age and de­cay, as com­pared to many of its neigh­bor­ing build­ings which have been de­mol­ished.

By the time of its re­open­ing, Big World will func­tion more as an ex­hi­bi­tion space used to dis­play the city’s cul­tural her­itage, said Dao, who was for­merly the di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion. How­ever, the col­lec­tion of 12 dis­torted mir­rors, once a sig­na­ture at­trac­tion at the park, will make a come­back.

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

The Big World Amuse­ment Park, the most iconic and his­toric en­ter­tain­ment cen­ter in the city, will re­open this year af­ter a 13-year hia­tus.

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