Beijing gets creative in stimulating night economy

An Ikea store is sitll busy at 11 p.m. in Beijing (Beijing News/Wang Lin)

Besides late-night karaoke bars and restaurants, shopping malls in Beijing are now encouraging customers to shop later in the day, in an attempt to stimulate the night economy.

Last weekend in Beijing, stores including Livat shopping center and IKEA opened until midnight for the first time this summer and offered discounts between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. to attract more consumers.

These stores advertised late-night sales through their WeChat accounts before the activity started. Livat even hired a Swedish performance team to play music in the mall to draw attention.

Compared with clothing brands such as Lily and Bershka, stores that feature simplicity, such as IKEA, seem to be more popular among customers during the late-night sales. Many customers rushed to buy the IKEA POÄNG armchair, sold for 199 yuan down from 399. It was so popular that the matching pillows were sold out for a short time.

Two more late-night sales will be held in Livat in July and August. Meanwhile, more restaurants will join the midnight campaign. Last summer, several restaurants in Heshenghui shopping center began to open until midnight over the weekend. Some will shortly begin to open 24/7.

Late-night restaurants alone won’t attract customers. Beijing tries to support these restaurants with recreational activities, such as dancing machines and karaoke facilities.

Beijing’s night economy policy started earlier this year. Statistics show that the city’s consumption from January to May reached 1.1 trillion yuan, up by 7.9 percent.

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Commerce recently said that it would work with relevant departments to upgrade business districts and cultivate nightlife to stimulate consumption.