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[Business Vista]
[Business and Markets in Suzhou] [List of Some Enterprises]

Business and Markets in Suzhou

I. Wholesale and Retail Business

The Retail Business in Suzhou(1994)
(Billion RMB) Purchased Merchandise Value Total Sales Consumer Goods Sales
Total City 828.8 885.1 194
Total City Proper 205.2 187.2 57.5
State-owned Companies 110.5 125.6 35.5

Suzhou boasts one of the nation's most brisk whole sale and retail business. In 1994, the total value of purchased merchandise was RMB 82.88 billion (RMB 20.52 billion in city in city proper), total sales were a record of RMB 88.51 billion (RMB 18.72 billion in city proper). and the total sales of consumer goods hit RMB 19.4 billion (RMB 5.75 billion in city proper). In the city proper there are about 24 large, stated-owned wholesale commercial companies with numerous affiliates in Suzhou's six satellite cities, and 10146 retail stores with about 35,000 employees. Each of the 15 largest retail department stores (11 in city proper) sold over RMB100 million in goods in 1994, with Suzhou People's Market ranking first by its RMB 503.82 billion sales for 1994. The commercial districts are distributed throughout the city. The three most important and brisk ones are located at Guangqianjie, Shilu and Nanmen. Additionally, there are seven medium-sized business quarters in Dongxizhongshi, Jingde Road, Shiquanjie Street and other places. Complementing to these large and medium-sized business quarters are 15 business networks scattered in new residential quarters like Nanhuan, Laixiang and Donggang.

(I). Main Commercial Districts

Guanqianjie Commercial District Being Suzhou's most thriving business center, the district evolves from the Suzhou China-made Goods Market set up in september, 1933. The most famous restaurants and stores are Songhelou Restaurant, Huangtianyuan Pastry Store, Lugaojian Cooked Meat Store, Caizhizhai Candy Store, Shengchuyang Salted and Cured Meat Store and Qiantuixiang Silk Fabric Store. After the founding of People's Republic of China in 1949, a batch of large and medium-sized department stores have been set up here, such as Suzhou Number One Department Store, Suzhou Industrial Products Market, Suzhou Food Market, Hualian and Changfa Department Stores.

Shilu Commercial District Situated just outside the gate to Changmen (a city in ancient time), Shilu Road has been a traditional prosperous market. Early in 1912, the road was lined by over 320 various general stores, restaurants and luncheonettes, the most famous ones being Zhaotianlu Teahouse, Dujia Laosan Meat Store and Mutaishan Herbal Medicine Shop. Since 1979, a number of commercial building has been located or expanded in the district, such as Xinhua Restaurant and department stores with names of Shill, Hongkong-Shanghai, Asia and Venice. The famous Shill Small Commodities Market has special appeal to customers for its rich, colorful small commodities and for its being a night market.

Nan men Commercial District Located at the juncture of the city proper of Suzhou and New Area of Wuxian City and the intersect of Sujiahu Highway and Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the district is a fast developing business quarter which came into being after 1949. In 1993, the original Nanmen Commercial Building was expanded and renamed as Suzhou Commercial Building with floor area of 13,800 square metres, and under construction is the Taihua Building with designed floor area of 50 thousand square meters. Adding to the prosperity of Nanmen District are the brisk markets at Nanmen Xi'er Road, such as agricultural products market, small commodities wholesale market and three large wholesale markets selling eggs, aquatic products and fruits.

(II). Major Commercial Companies

Suzhou General Merchandise Controlling Corporation Registered capital: RMB 21.4 million;
Purchased goods in 1994: RMB 820.57 million;
Sales for 1994: RMB 945.95 million;
Business scope: stationery, Shoes and hats, Watches and clocks, Sewing machines, photographic equipment, detergent, cosmetics and small commotions of daily use, etc.

Suzhou Hardware (Group) Corporation Registered Capital: RMB 33 million;
Purchased goods in 1994: RMB 585.02 million;
Sales for 1994: RMB 758.92 million Business Scope: electric equipment, communication equipment, electrical engineering materials, recorders and videos, etc.

Suzhou Food Head Office Registered Capital: RMB 5.66 million;
Purchased goods in 1994: RMB 201.92 million;
Sales for 1994: RMB 216.15 million;
Business Scope: meat, poultry, eggs, food processing and storing, etc.

Suzhou Textiles (Group) Corporation Registered Capital: RMB 3.21 million;
Purchases for 1994: RMB 235.49 million;
Sales for 1994: RMB 264.57 million;
Business scope: cotton cloth, man-made fabric, silk fabric, woolen and velvet material, knitwear, appliances for labor protection, etc.

Suzhou Candy, Cigarettes and Wine (Group) Corporation Registered Capital: RMB 8.16 million;
Purchases for 1994: RMB 271.04 million;
Sales for 1994: RMB 294.74 million;
Business scope: Sugar, Candies, Wine, Cigarettes, Soft drinks, food auxiliary materials, etc.

Suzhou Small Commodities Wholesale (Group) Corporation Registered Capital: RMB 4.04 million;
Purchases for 1994: RMB 169.63 million;
Sales for 1994: RMB 169.26 million;
Business Scope: detergents, cosmetics, papers, cotton knitwear, general merchandise, etc.

(III). Major Commercial Buildings and Department Stores

Suzhou People's Department Store, Inc.

Located at No.22 Beiju, Guangqianjie Commercial District, the corporation comprises of 3 department stores, 14 business department and 5 subsidiary companies. The floor area of the main building reached 250 thousand square meters after expansion. The sales for 1994 were RMB 503.82 million.

Suzhou Number One Department Store A large retail complex, the store now covers floor area of 150 thousand square meters with the completion of the second phase expansion project at Chayuanchang, Guangqianjie District. Its 65 counter groups, 6 chain stores and one household appliances service store, realized total sales of RMB 438.75 million in 1994.

Suzhou Industrial Products Department Store Located at No.245 Guanqian Street, Guangqianjie District, the store has floor area of 5,000 square meters with 35 counter groups and wholesale departments and 6 chain stores. Its hardware and communication equipment sold RMB 423.12 million in 1994.

Suzhou Commercial Building Group, Ltd.

Originally called Suzhou Nanmen Cimmerian Building, the RMB 65.85 million (in share capital), company is now composed of 11 subsidiaries and 268 counter groups. The floor area of the company's main building is 13.8 thousand square meters. The company's sales for 1994 were RMB 401.19 million.

(IV). Countryside Commerce and Department Stores

There are altogether 165 grass-roots general merchandise cooperatives in Suzhou's 162 villages and towns. Each of the cooperatives has set up 1~3 department stores whose floor area is over 300 square meters. The 2148 retail stores and 285 restaurants distributes over Suzhou's villages and towns realized sales of RMB 12.109 billion in 1994.

(V). Catering Trade

The city's catering trade becomes ever more brisk with the prosperity of it overall economy, with about 2657 restaurants and eating houses scattering in almost every street and lane. Of the restaurants in Guanqianjie and Shilu Districts which serve foods and snacks with distinctive, local features, the most famous ones are Songhelou Restaurant, Deyuelou Restaurant, Wangsi Public House, Jinghua Tavern, Dasanyuan Tavern, Shanghai Laozhangxing Restaurant, Wufangzhai Noodles, etc.

(VI). Speciality Stores

Qiantaixiang Silk Piece Goods Store Set up in 1870, the store mainly handles woolen and velvet materials, silk piece goods, cotton cloth. It enjoys high reputation among local people and customers from other places for its trust-worthy quality and good service. Sales for 1994 were RMB 2.2 million.

Suzhou Caizhizai Candies Store Founded in 1870, the store is divided into two parts: workshop in the rear and the shop front, It mainly produces and sells various kinds of colorful candies, candies fruits, roasted seeds and nuts typical of Suzhou flavour.

Suzhou Dafang Lugaojian Cooked Meat Store It is said that ancient cooked store have served the local people since the year 1663. The pot-stewed fowls and meat prepared by the store are regarded as authentic and typical of Suzhou flavour.

Huangtianyuan Pastry Store
Established in 1821, the store provides a great variety of seasonal pastry according to the local customs, from candied pastry, larded pastry to dumplings stuffed with different contents.

Suzhou Songhelou Restaurant The 200-year-old, three-storied restaurant can accommodate 2000 customers at one time with its floor area of 4,000 square meters and eight dining halls. The dishes it serves are prepared by excellent cooks and are typical of Suzhou flavour.

(VII). Famous Dishes and Snacks

Through hundreds of years' development, Suzhou's dishes have developed strong local flavour exclusively of their own. Each course of the dishes is prepared with quality ingredients and with care, and is unique in color, scent, shape and taste. Some of the most famous dishes are as follows.

Squirrel-shaped Carp. This dish is shaped like a lovely golden squirrel with sliced, fur-like fish meat and upwards-tilting tail and fin. It boasts the number one dish in Songhelou Restaurant.

Chrysanthemum-shaped Black Carp Deep fried and served with thick gravy and vinegar, the dish takes the shape of chrysanthemum in blossom with its sliced meat turning outwards.

Young Chicken Buried in Watermelon Rind Before the young chicken is buried in the watermelon rind, the rind will be carved with exquisite patterns. Then, the rind and the chicken will be staved in a pot with slow fire for a relatively long time. This dish is very popular among local people in summer for its crisp chicken, delicate fragrance and clear soup.

Shelled Shrimps Stewed in Tea First make a pot of strong tea with the famous Bilouchun tea-leaves grown on the Donglin Mountain by the Taihu Lake. Then stew the shelled shrimps in the pot above with slow fire. In this way, the stewed shrimps will be as smooth and white like jade and tastes with the fragrance of Bilouchun Tea.

The Number One Dish Pour the soup cooked with shrimps and chicken into the newly-fried rice crusts and you will get the tasty dish, which is sometimes called Number One Dish Under The Heaven.

II. Markets

Various kinds of markets are growing vigorously in Suzhou. Distribution centers specialized in a certain kind of commodity, a wide variety of production factors markets like production means market, technology markets, work force markets, building materials' markets, all combine to set Suzhou's economy on the fast lane towards market econogy system. Leveraging the abundance of commodities in those markets is the completeness of public utilities therein, such as restaurants, hotels, transportation, post offices, banks, etc. Those well-administered markets, especially those distribution centers, have attracted and well served customers from other parts of the nation and from foreign countries.

Major Markets

Suzhou Commodities Futures Exchange Set up in 1992, in Sanxianglu Road, city of Suzhou, as one of the nation's first 15 commodities exchange approved by the China Securities Regulatory Commission. At present, the exchange has 140 members and over 5,000 primary agents from 28 the nation's provinces and /or cities. The commodities traded there include 6.5mm steel bars, natural silk, chemical fibres, small red beans and plywood. With its 140 satellite ground receiving stations, 80 wired display screens, complete rules and regulations for futures trade, Suzhou Commodities Futures Exchange is now among the nation's best commodities exchange in whatever way.

China Dongfang Silk Market Established in october, 1986, in town of Shengzhe, City of Wujiang, the market covers an area of 294.1 thousand square meters and comprises of 2,300 boothes in its five business quarters, which handle different commodities like pure silk and artificial silk and satin, chemical fibres. Total wholesale and retail sales for 1994 was RMB 5.2 billion.

China Shipai Wool Market Set up in October, 1994, in town of Shipai, city of Kunshan, the market occupied and area of 80 thousand square meters and boasts the biggest wool distribution and information center in East China. The three-month sales in 1994 reached RMB 430 million.

China Miaoqiao Knitwears Market Located at town of Miaoqiao, city of Zhangjiagang, the market covers an area of 25 thousand square and has 1,500 boothes. The area of phase II expansion project is designed to be 30thousand square meters. there are about 1000 woolen sweater workshops run different families in the neighborhood. Sales for 1994 was RMB 170 million.

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