BEIJING -- Beijing wants the number of convenience stores in its urban and near-urban areas to reach 3,000 in three years so that shoppers will not have to travel far to find a store in the city.
According to the municipal commerce commission, four government departments will jointly launch measures to facilitate business. There are currently only about 1,500 convenience stores in Beijing.
The commission found through investigation that high costs and complicated administrative formalities are the main obstacles for opening the shops in the city.
Under the commission's blueprint, there should be more than 2,000 convenience stores in the city proper so that a convenience store can be found near every residential community, and over half of the stores should operate around the clock.
There will be changes in future stores in Beijing, as the commission's new work plan allows convenience stores to sell cooked food, health food and food for special medical purposes.
Beijing's new urban planning has led wholesale markets and street vendors to move out to reduce traffic congestion and reduce the population density in the capital. However, urban residents are having difficulty buying food.
To address the needs, the commission said it would allow stores to open dining areas and sell beverages and food made by automated equipment. It also encourages stores to offer other services for the convenience of customers, such as laundry and water bill collection. Stores offering such services can apply for government subsidies.
The commission said it would encourage chain store operators to open new stores, build processing and distribution centers, and use new technology such as the Internet of Things and big data to improve management and supply efficiency.