Historic bookstore chain turns 80

By Mei Jia | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-26 08:36

Historic bookstore chain turns 80

A Xinhua Bookstore is illuminated to celebrate the 80th birthday of the chain in Hefei, Anhui province. [Photo/VCG]

Xinhua Bookstore, the country's largest book-circulation and-distribution network, is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.

Born in the wartime revolutionary base of Yan'an in Shaanxi province, Xinhua Bookstore has been playing an important role from then until now and is hailed as a "golden brand".

"It was established by the Communist Party of China and is under its direct leadership. It carries revolutionary genes," says Liu Qibao, head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, told a symposium celebrating the bookstore's anniversary in Beijing on May 18.

The chain's logo is calligraphy written by Mao Zedong in 1948.

Now, it has 12,000 stores and distribution centers, and 130,000 employees. Both its total assets and sales volume have exceeded 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion), according to Ha Jiuru, director-general of the China Xinhua Bookstore Association.

Many people like Wang Xiaohui, who was born in 1972 and grew up in Baoding, Hebei province, say the brand was always a part of life.

"Xinhua Bookstore was my childhood dream place. I always went there to read my favorite illustrated books," says Wang.

She later joined the company as an employee at age 19, fulfilling her dream.

About 1,700 articles were received for the online campaign My Stories with Xinhua Bookstores. The webpage was viewed 20 million times, showing readers' personal connections with the brand.

Wang witnessed the chain update its operations to sell over mobile channels and open new, boutique-like shops that make bookstores more like a place to read, experience local culture and spend leisure time, like the Zhuo Yue Xuan Bookstore in her hometown.

Yan'an Bookstore, with a theme of revolutionary history, is another such upgraded shop in the city where the chain was born.

The outlet is 2,000 square meters and was designed with historic scenes, like the cave houses in northern Shaanxi and a replica of the Yan'an Nursery House.

"The bookstore creates a reading atmosphere that immerses customers in the revolution's history and culture. We value the unique experience they can get here," says Zhang Lei, a bookstore designer, who was previously involved in opening two other such shops in the country.

Ha says the association will be building more such "red stores", and provide better service and experiences for readers.

"We'll try to maintain the brand's classical features and polish it to create something more fashionable and contemporary," Ha says.

Liu praises the brand's exploration in building 24-hour spaces and encourages efforts in the multimedia integration of online sales and distribution.

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