Major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai released plans to create a ‘night economy’ to boost consumption and growth.
Sydney has been in a six year long battle with the government about the nonsensical and rigid lockout laws that have essentially beaten down our nightlife so much, that there is a mere whisper of night culture left here.
China, on the other hand, is taking a step in the right direction and acting on the very lesson that our government failed to learn: nightlife in a main city equates to revenue, culture, popularity and tourism.
Considering Beijing was listed as the 47th city on Time Out’s 2019 List of World’s Best Cities, and Shanghai was listed as the 35th city; it’s pretty easy to see why China may want to boost their nightlife economy.
Sydney was listed as the 39th top city, our fall from grace as swift as Justin Hemmes snatching up of 46 CBD venues following his support of the lockout laws.
For anyone that is still a little fuzzy on Sydney’s lockout laws, you can check out our special feature film ‘After The Lockouts’ that’ll walk you through the political fiasco.
But to briefly summarise:
Lockout laws = bad.
Nightlife = good.
Now back to China. China’s government is encouraging businesses and local districts develop ‘lively night-time businesses and markets’ in an effort to get people to spend more money at night.
One of the ways they plan on doing this is by incorporating interactive events in shopping malls.
Ellen Wei, head of retail for JLL China told CNBC that malls are attempting to add live bands, beer-brewing restaurants, escape rooms, theatres, and e-sports halls. The key reason being that these activities are all popularly enjoyed between the hours of 6pm-midnight.
Even hospitals and health care providers are jumping on board, with many hospitals already having experimented with night-time clinics and the extension of operating hours.
We’re all familiar with Sydney’s ‘Vivid Lights’ annual extravaganza that welcomes masses of tourists. Well, China is getting their very own light show and other light-related attractions.
“Under the support of night-time economy and smart cities, local landscape lighting plans are being released, and many localities plan to spend more than 100 million yuan (about $14 million). In urban beautification, pulling up night-time consumption, also gives uses of LED a new space for growth,” said China-based LED research group Gaogong.
Despite government encouragement of these efforts and the positive road China seems to be trekking on; there still is a lot to be done before they begin reaping the benefits of a booming nightlife economy.
China will still need to brand their own nightlife culture that showcases the major cities for their own distinguishable awe. Just as New York boasts Broadway shows and 24-hour pizza shops inherently linked to their culture, entertainment and arts scene; China must find their own flare.
There is also no guarantee that shopping malls and other venues that wish to extend their hours will see significant revenue returned to them, considering the dispersed night traffic.
Public transport also falls behind proving support for this new push for better nightlife, as Beijing’s subway system closes by midnight. Meaning tourists and locals alike do not have access to cheaper public transportation, which may discourage nigh-time roaming.
Nonetheless, there’s no doubt that China is making admirable efforts to boost their nightlife economy and may well be on their way to making top 10 on Time Out’s best cities list,
Meanwhile, us Sydney-siders are still patiently waiting in embarrassment as our government moves to decide what other arts and culture sector they can target.
One-way ticket to Beijing anyone?
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