The Xidan commercial district in Xicheng District is a booming area for shopping lovers and Chinese consumers. Compared to the shoppers who go to the newer Sanlitun area, Xidan attracts younger shoppers from around Beijing and other regions in China. Xidan, having its roots from the Ming dynasty was a venue for visitors entering Beijing from the southwest part of the city and gradually developed into one of the largest merchant areas of Beijing. Today, Xidan is a symbol of Chinese consumption and a popular hangout place for Chinese couples and families all week long.
Coming out of Beijing Subway Line 1, Xidan Station, you run straight into Cultural Square. The fountain show takes place every afternoon until dark.
People await the fountain show as they take a breather from work. You can see all sorts of people here at Cultural Square.
Fountain show begins. Looking at cultural square from the north-end.
Xidan commerical district combines multiple department stores from China and Taiwan. If you cant find what youre looking for in Xidan, then you probably wont have any luck anywhere else in China.
As it gets darker, workers who get off work come out to have dinner and day-time shoppers start to head back home. You can see the newest Apple store in Beijng in this image. The Apple store continues to be a popular destination in Xidan along with new additions of Burger King, ZARA and H&M.
These bridges make it easy for consumers to go from one department store to another.
Xidan at sunset.
Another day is over in Xidan as the lights go on at Cultural Square.
On 11/13/2010, Beijing had a treat as the 2nd Annual TedxBeijing conference was held. TEDxBeijing is one of hundreds of independently organized conferences around the globe inspired and licensed by the United States-based non-profit TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. With the theme 'Uncovering Innovation', 12 key speakers with industry specialization of science, technology, entertainment, and design and over 200 audiences combined each others experience, knowledge and ideas throughout the day to answer key questions like 'Where does innovation come from?' and 'How do we implement these ideas?'. This photo essay is a review of some of the key speakers from the event and their inspiring ideas.
The event kicked off early at 9:00AM as the audience enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and accompany from a mix of local and international innovators. I must say the speakers were inspiring and we learned so much from their expertise and ideas but for me meeting so many innovative thinkers and individuals who really want to make change happen from Beijing re-assured me of how great this city is and how much potential it holds for the future.
The first speaker Martin Barnes, a Beijing-based artist, videographer and creative director talked about his inspiring project with Blind Photographers. As a student of photography myself, I was inspired by this idea. Often times the disabled are left in the darkness especially in China, people do not know how to tolerate them. But during his presentation he illustrated the importance of ‘non visual photographers’ and how organization of different combination of ideas creates great ideas. For the how to implement this idea he said that it comes from being free, having an authentic idea, including everyone and keeping it obvious and simple.
Adam Kidron, a serial entrepreneur and former music producer based in New York spoke on behalf of Music Piracy in China. He emphasized how the internet has changed the way we purchase music and that today 95% of music is being shared online with this statistic excluding China. He questions how today, the creator’s do not get enough loyalties for their work and how there needs to be a universal music library where the original creator gets the credit and the user pays for the cost of usage.
Sam Flemming, pioneer of Internet Word of Mouth (IWOM) in China and provides extraordinary insight into the Chinese netizen community by systematically analyzing the millions of BBS and blog posts they exchange to each other. He emphasized how brands listen to what consumers are saying and that the internet community is a great way to see trends and how social media influences their purchasing decision. I took away from his talk that with the internet, small groups of people can really do great things. He illustrated how in China, car buyers will organize a group purchase event online to get great discounts and how China was way ahead of US/EU in terms of social media and online communities.
Dr. Guangming Xie inspired us with his innovation in robotics. His new cut innovation of Robotic Fish could one day guide real organisms away from an oil spill to prevent further extinction of species. It was interesting to see his videos where his robotic fish and a real fish interacted as the real fish showed interest and followed the robotic fish joined by other real fish.
Lijia Zhang, a journalist spoke on behalf of her memoir and hardships growing up in a factory in Nanjing. She made a connection with how the factory that she lived in was a communist state itself as she had no freedom and no personal life with nowhere to escape. Her metaphor of herself being a 'Frog trapped in a well' came up several times in her presentation. She explained that her passion to want to make a change in her life and to be different convinced her to learn English. She said everyone was afraid to be different as her metaphor of the 'First bird that fly out of the cage gets shot first' shows exactly that. It was nice to hear her overcome her fear and hardship as her storyline inspired us to think about hardships and how to overcome them to make change.
The audience experienced a new world through the art of dance as Gaoyan Jinzi, artistic director of the Beijing Modern Dance Company's dancers show cased their innovative stance in the form of dance.
The Majin Buu drum club, showcase their energy and western African style music as they pump up the audience with new sounds and original art.
Wen Fang uses art to make social change in China. Her latest project, Art against Poverty brings her around China helping to make change from the grassroots level by using the power of art to help rural women find sustainable livelihoods. The rural women were already skilled in making crafts and with their creativity and passion makes great art for change.
The event was broadcasted live on Tudou and a live satellite viewing location. Overall, it was well-organized and if you are in Beijing next year around this time of the year it’s an event that you don’t want to miss.
Bonus: if you are wondering where you can get the intro music from Beijing’s very own DJ Slide, you can get it here.
- © All images copyrighted. Please use only with permission.