If you’ve taken the Beijing Subway in recent days, you may have noticed a change inside some of the stations.
Many stations are now fitted out with convenience stores, bringing the capital’s underground rail network up to speed with cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and elsewhere.
The recently opened 多点 (DMall) smart store at Datun Lu Dong station
The Beijing Subway has been open to the public since 1971 making it the oldest network on the Chinese mainland.
The last time convenience stores operated inside Beijing Subway stations was in 2004. However, a policy change meant that stores later had to close.
Fast forward to 2019 and convenience stores inside stations were back on the cards. The Committee Secretary of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Commerce Yan Ligang stated that plans were underway to allow trial operations.
On July 25, 2021, New Beijing Times reported the first batch of convenience stores had opened in Qingnian Lu station (Line 6), Caishikou station (Line 7) and Hepingli Bei Jie station (Line 5).
Deligogo was opened in Qingnian Lu station in July, 2021
On September 29, 2021, the Beijing Subway WeChat Official Account announced that the first smart convenience store had opened in Happy Valley station (Line 7).
Most recently, Beijing Evening reported on December 16, 2021 that within a year, around 130 stores will be open inside Beijing Subway stations. Aside from convenience stores, there will also be book stores, pharmacies and more.
The topic captured the attention of Chinese netizens. On social media platform Weibo, the hashtag ‘Beijing Subway first batch of convenience stores have started trial operations’ has received 5.63 million views, as of press time.
Next time you take the Beijing Subway, grabbing a sandwich, snack, Coca Cola or whatever you need will be a little easier. But just remember to wait until you're outside the station to eat or drink. Beijing Subway still requires you to wear a mask!
[All images via Alistair Baker-Brian/That's]