Panjiayuan flea market is situated in southeast Beijing, a short distance away from the central business district, and on the Third Ring Road. It occupies an area of 48,500 square meters, is now a paradise for people panning for treasures.
Panjiayuan flea market was formed spontaneously as early as 1992. Initially there were only some vendors setting up stalls along the streets, selling various kinds of old objects. The stalls then grew from dozens to thousands, thus the market gradually took shape.
From 1995 to 1997, the government regulated the market's management and invested twice, building a number of antique stores, forming the current business model, which has a combination of stores and stalls. At present, Panjiayuan flea market has more than 2,700 booths operated by vendors from Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and a further 21 provinces and cities, employing nearly 10,000 people. It has everything that one expects to find such as furniture, calligraphy, paintings, jade articles, ceramics, books, coins, clothing, and personal adornments. The daily visitor flow can reach 60,000 to 70,000 person-times.
Thanks to its large size and the wide variety of items on offer, Panjiayuan is a focal point for a great many collectors, buyers and sellers. Roaming among them, the pleasure in panning for treasures makes one easily lose track of time. Panjiayuan is now much bigger than anyone had originally imagined, becoming synonymous with China's market in antiques and ancient articles, and enjoying a high reputation both at home and abroad. Stepping on the Great Wall, eating roast duck, touring the Palace Museum, and visiting Panjiayuan have become the essential aspects of any foreign tourists' visit to Beijing.
Stalls are predominant in Panjiayuan, as this is the way of doing business that most people prefer. With their collections displayed on the ground, going through them, you can watch them at will, and perhaps you can unintentionally find treasures. This way of doing business is the secret of Panjiayuan's success.
Panjiayuan has a very attractive weekend market. Many collectors regard a visit to the market as a pleasure. They may not necessarily buy anything after a day's visit, but will still find it to be a very rewarding experience.