His­toric store turns 80

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Reads - By MEI JIA

XIN­HUA Book­store, China’s largest book cir­cu­la­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion net­work, is cel­e­brat­ing its 80th an­niver­sary this year.

Born in 1937 in the wartime revo­lu­tion­ary base of Yanan, Xin­hua Book­store has played an im­por­tant cul­tural role and is hailed as a golden brand.

It was es­tab­lished by the Com­mu­nist Party of China (CPC) and re­mains un­der its lead­er­ship.

And it car­ries revo­lu­tion­ary genes, says Liu Qibao, who heads the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee’s Pub­lic­ity Depart­ment: The chain’s logo is based on cal­lig­ra­phy writ­ten by revo­lu­tion­ary leader Mao Ze­dong him­self in 1948.

Now, it has 12,000 stores and dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tres, 130,000 em­ploy­ees, and as­sets and sales vol­ume of over 100bil yuan (RM62.4bil).

Many peo­ple like Wang Xiao­hui, who was born in 1972, say the brand is a part of their life: “Xin­hua Book­store was my child­hood dream place. I al­ways went there to read my favourite il­lus­trated books,” says Wang. She later joined the com­pany as an em­ployee at age 19, ful­fill­ing her dream.

Other cit­i­zens have shared sim­i­lar sto­ries – about 1,700 ar­ti­cles were re­ceived for the on­line cam­paign “My sto­ries with Xin­hua Book­stores”.

Wang has wit­nessed the chain up­date its op­er­a­tions to sell over mo­bile chan­nels and open new, bou­tique-like shops that make book­stores more like a place to read, ex­pe­ri­ence lo­cal cul­ture and spend leisure time.

For in­stance, Yan’an Book­store, in the city where the chain was born, was up­graded with a design theme of revo­lu­tion­ary his­tory. The 2,000sq m out­let was de­signed with his­toric scenes, like the cave houses in north­ern Shaanxi.

Such stores “cre­ate a read­ing at­mos­phere that im­merses cus­tomers in the revo­lu­tion’s his­tory and cul­ture,” ex­plains de­signer Zhang Lei, who was pre­vi­ously in­volved in open­ing two other such shops in the coun­try. – China Daily/Asia News Net­work

The HQ lit up in cel­e­bra­tion. — China Daily/Asia News Net­work

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