South China City Plans More Book Centers

Shenzhen City in south China's Guangdong Province is determined to add more than a bit of culture to its economic success by building two major book trading centers in the years to come.

Shenzhen has performed an economic miracle since China decided to start its reform and opening-up drive in 1979. It has grown from a small fishing town with a population of 20,000 to a medium-sized prosperous city which houses one of the country's two stock bourses.

A local cultural official explained that Shenzhen already has one book trading center, the Shenzhen Book Center, which has been operating for six years and has 13,000 square meters in floor space. The center has an average 38,000 visitors each day and 60,000 visitors on each weekend day. "Everybody says the center is too small," says the official.

The city government of Shenzhen plans to lavish over 100 million yuan (about US$12.1 million) on the construction of one of the two new centers, which will specialize in scientific and technological books.

The scientific and technological book center will be located in downtown area of Shenzhen and will have 32,000 square meters of floor space on completion. Construction will start in October this year and it will be ready for use in early 2004.

The other book trading center, the Nanshan Book Center, with a floor space of 25,000 square meters on completion, is already under construction and will be completed by late 2003.

The local government hopes that the three book centers, which will all be situated on Shennan Boulevard, will form a cultural landscape in this culture-thirsty southern Chinese city.

(Xinhua News Agency June 19, 2002)

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