Shangdi area is possibly one of the busiest, most rational, inclusive and crowded places in Beijing. It is also full of Chinese characteristics, dreams and tears of thousands of people. However, this tiny area in Beijing witnessed the past and future of the Chinese Internet world, success and failure, anxiety and perseverance, etc. In TMTpost Photo Gallery023, we’d like to tell a story about this area.
It was 07:49AM, April, 20th, 2016, entrance of Shangdi Subway Station. Thousands of white-collar workers poured out of the station to go to work. The traffic at the station could reach as much as 30,000 to 50,000 every day.
It was 08:14AM, a platform of Xi’erqi Station. Passengers were getting on and off the train. The traffic at this station could reach as much as 100,000 every day. This station was jokingly referred to as “heart of the Chinese IT industry”. “If the train” arrived late at this station, then the Chinese Internet world would be delayed for a while,” people joked.
In the rush hour of Shangdi East Road, the crowd and the traffic interwove together.
The mother and her son have sold porridges at the crossing for three years. However, their business last for only an hour in the morning. “We have to be very quick, and sell around 100 cups of porridges every morning. Nobody have the time or patience to wait, since they’ve got to go to work,” the mother explained.
Outside of Baidu Technology Park Building, people were waiting for shuttle buses to other office buildings of Baidu. Many star Internet companies are located around Shangdi area, including Oracles, Didi, Lenovo, Baidu, Xiaomi… Other Internet companies such as NetEase, Tencent and Sina all have plans to move to this area.
Since joining Lenovo in 2002, Liu Yin has been working at Shangdi area for 14 years. Lenovo’s ship-rail size building has become an indelible part of her life. “I spent 14 years working here, and these 14 years is the most creative and exciting period of time for me,” she said. She was very concentrated and rigorous when talking about her work, but very kind when talking about the golden retriever she adopted. After Lenovo for Enterprise was launched in Chengdu, she began to travel from Chengdu to Beijing frequently.
There were many fast food stores at the ground floor of Hui Huang International Hotel. It’s inexpensive, convenient and quick to have lunch here, so many white-collar workers working around Shangdi area would choose to have lunch here.
Sales representatives of an online English training organization were offline-promoting their courses on the streets around Shangdi area. “We’re supposed to complete at least 450 new signups every month,” they said. However, it’s not a task too difficult to complete.
In November, 2015, He Pengfei, a craftsman and the founder of social e-commerce platform MBM, moved the office to Shangdi area. “The entrepreneurial environment here is the strongest here in Beijing,” said Mr. He. It’s a lot easier to recruit talents and raise financing here. However, as founder of an app targeted to find beauty in everyday life, he sympathized with white-collar workers working in this area. “There are so many white-collar workers here, so much hustle and bustle. People are supposed to work really hard and at high pace here, so it is difficult for them to have a life after work,” explained he.
A deliveryman was taking a nap on Shangdi West Road, whichi is on the east side of Zhongguancun Software Park.
Tangjialing Road, known as the gathering place of “the tribe of ants”, linked together Zhongguancun Software Park and Tangjialing.
After being knocked down in 2010, this place was transformed into Zhongguancun Forest Park. However, there were still a few buildings and houses left. One person still living here told TMTpost that they didn’t move because they failed to cut in a deal over compensation, and they didn’t know when they could move yet.
These remaining houses were at the side of the forest park. It is said that 7 owners of these houses all rent their two-storey building for around RMB 600.
Most residents of this area moved to Tangjialing New City, which is a few hundred meters away from Zhongguancun Park. Several academic institutes such as China Academy of Space Technology and Academy of Opto-Electronics are just across the New City.
Two researchers were testing radar on the Cloud Valley Square, which was just 4 kilometers away from Tangjialing.
The symbolic building of the Cloud Valley Square resembles the widely-imagined appearance of an UFO.
An offline promotion representative was recommending houses from his platform to passers-by. The rent fee was not inexpensive, and they still charged tenants with service fee. “The average salary of people working at Software Park is quite high, so it’s not difficult to rent these houses to them,” he explained, “these houses are great to live in, but I can’t afford them since my salary is too limited.”
It was 06:00PM, April, 20th. Many white-collar workers going to work with backpacks would walk along the railway. It is reported that there was an accident in January, 2015, and a train hit the pedestrian who happened to cross the railway.
A few houses for rent were scattered around the viaduct of Shangdi Subway Station and “Elite Apartment” was one of them. These houses were just two or three-minute-walk away from the subway station, and the average price of each room was around RMB 1,000.
This is a finely-decorated building just two kilometers away from the Shangdi Subway Station. The average price per square meter was a few thousand RMB a decade ago, but the opening price of this new building reached RMB 90,000 per square meter.
TMTpost Photo Gallery
Special column of TMTpost
Aiming to record individuals and entrepreneurs in the Internet industry
Photos don’t lie, but they don’ tell the whole truth
Photos are free, but also full of traps
This is an Internet age, and we want you to discover stories with us online
(Like our Facebook page and follow us now on Twitter @tmtpostenglish and on Medium @TMTpost and on Instagram @tmtpost_english.)
[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @fliesslaughterhouse, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Garrett Lee (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.