Paradise Department Store plans to take Korean hallyu to Hulunbuir, home to China’s fourth richest populous.
Hulunbuir in Nei Menggu, China, is distinguished by what is the largest grassland in the country, but its people have the fourth highest level of income nationally.
With the latest Korean enterprise in the region, Hulunbuir will soon be marked by its Paradise Department Store, presenting products and culture from Korea to serve as a new hub for spreading hallyu (the Korean wave).
“Hulunbuir is a borderline region between China and Russia, and home to 15 million annual tourists,” said Yoo Dae-jin, president of Paradise Department Store, during an investment briefing in Seoul.
Scheduled to open on December 20, the store features some 60,000 sqm of floor space with one lower level and two upper levels, 20,000 sqm of parking space, and will become the biggest of its kind in the region, according to a company representative.
Officials also confirmed that 900 stores are scheduled to move into the shopping complex, and 700 contracts have been confirmed so far, with businesses ranging from clothing and accessories to cosmetics and household items. Other enterprises will also include hospitals (plastic surgery clinic, dentist, internal medicine, pediatrics), restaurants, bars, cafes, and even a sauna facility and a hair salon.
Furthermore, the complex is expected to present an in-house Culture Center and a Kids’ Center alongside its December opening.
“The store is not only about Korean products but also Korean culture, so our Culture Center will present various lectures and events including Korean food, language, K-pop, K-dance, and arts,” said Yoo. “Through our Kids’ Center, we’ll introduce Korea’s education and nurturing culture.”
According to Yoo, although Hulunbuir is less known to Koreans, it’s among China’s popular go-to regions with the majority of tourists being locals. The region has some 580 accommodation facilities, 43 of them large hotels, he said.
The regional government has also actively supported the development, investing 15 million yuan (US$2.2 million) to establish what it calls a “Korean Culture Street” within the complex.
“With key government and public offices near the new department store’s site, and an express bus terminal near completion, it is the perfect spot for attracting customers.”
Yoo is also a vice chairman of OKTA (World Federation of Overseas Korean Traders Association), and he is using this as an advantage to help establish a network between Koreans and Koreans in China or Chosonjok (Korean descendants with Chinese citizenship).
The complex will provide an office space for the Chosonjok Trade Association in Hulunbuir while hiring dozens of Korean-Chinese as department store staff, said Yoo.
- Original reporting by Kevin Lee of Korea Bizwire.