BEIJING, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) — Many stallholders at the Silk Street Market, once known as Beijing’s largest bazaar for fakes, have been exhilarated this month at seeing throngs of foreign shoppers.
Athletes, officials, sports fans and tourists began crowding into the famous market in downtown Beijing for cheap goods days before the Games, and some delegations ordered tailored suits bearing the newly-established brand of SILKSTREET.
Nauru and Venezuela delegations marched into the National Stadium in SILKSTREET uniforms on Aug. 8 during the opening ceremony, according to Wang Zili, general manager of the Silkstreet Co. Ltd.
Ji Mingren, boss of a silk shop in the market, said the International Boxing Association had ordered 49 suits for the ceremony and the teams of Canada and Spain ordered tailored sportswear.
Since Aug. 1, delegations of some 80 countries and regions have ordered more than 3,000 tailored suits, statistics from the market showed.
"This means that the quality of our dresses begins to win international recognition," said Wang. On the desk of his office were framed pictures of Nauru and Venezuela teams during the ceremony.
"The Olympics brought us a rare opportunity, and will push the market to work to improve its image," said Wang.
Orders for silk garments this month doubled the volume of last August and more than 45,000 customers did shopping every day, 1.5 times of that in the same period last year.
The market has received a dozen of first ladies and at least four presidents since the Games kicked off. Among the VIPs were former U.S. president George H. W. Bush and Anne Rogge, wife of president of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge, who purchased silk garments.
The Silk Street, known as a venue of cheap counterfeit designer clothing, brand knock-offs and pirated DVDs, has grown up from a 200-meter long open alley into a five-storey shopping mall after reforms.
Facing complaints and lawsuits by world famous brands, the local government has cracked down on fake goods and helped the market to establish its own brand in an effort to rehabilitate the mall’s reputation.
After being named as one of the city’s eight commercial streets with special characteristics in 2006, Silk Street has reinforced measures in intellectual property right (IPR) protection and developing traditional Chinese brands.
It set up a fund of 30 million yuan (4.4 million U.S. dollars) in August, 2006 to reward shopowners who made outstanding efforts in IPR protection. Several hundred stalls involved in the fakes business had been cleared out of the market, and a tailored suit area covering 1,000 square meters was established.
So far, 19 traditional Chinese big brands have opened stalls, making up one-fourth of the mall’s acreage.
The SILKSTREET brand, unveiled in January this year, now includes apparel such as neckties, shirts and scarves, as well as a few household items such as tablecloths. More than 100 stores were authorized to sell such products exclusively in the mall.
Li Xuehua, stallholder who hosted President George Bush the elder during his shopping trip, has moved all his business outside Beijing to the market.
"I hope for more opportunities here and I believe the market will be a strong support to my business growth," said Li.
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