Xiangyang Road Fashion and Gift Market, Shanghai's most famous outdoor bazaar for cheap fake brand goods, shut down on July 1 under government orders.
The market, located off Huaihai Road in the downtown, has long attracted buyers from home and abroad looking for deals on counterfeit goods bearing such world-famous brands as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel and Prada.
Business transactions were ordered to end at 9:30pm Saturday, and all stalls in the market will be cleared out by Wednesday, according to city government. Around closing time last night, large squads of police were moving last-minute shoppers off the site.
The market was home to 800 shops and had an annual trade volume worth more than 400 million yuan (US$50 million). It was closed to make way for a subway station and shopping complex, but its shutdown also indicates the city government's resolve to protect intellectual property rights, city officials said.
"This market full of fake goods, the atmosphere of piracy have given Shanghai a very bad image," Xu Zhanglin, who works in the city's Intellectual Property Rights Bureau, told the Oriental Morning Post newspaper.
City tour guides made Xiangyang, set up six years earlier when shopkeepers were moved from another area set for demolition, a regular stop on their itineraries.
Dozens of touts loitered around the market, shoving catalogues of fake luxury brand handbags and watches into the faces of passersby in hopes of luring them into back-alley shops set up to evade periodic crackdowns. In the market's final days even more hawkers crowded into the area, hauling fake DVDs in suitcases and taking over the sidewalks with displays of cheap jewelry.
"Personally, I think the city government wants to build a better image because of people's perceptions internationally," Jack Chang, chairman of the Quality Brands Protection Committee, a group set up by foreign companies to work against piracy, told the Associated Press.
As shoppers crowded in for final bargains yesterday, peddlers were busy handing out name cards for new locations, mostly in 10 other markets that will not be affected by Xiangyang's closure.
(Shanghai Daily July 3, 2006)