If you've paid a recent visit to Shin Kong Place, one of the toniest shopping malls Beijing has to offer and located on the eastern end of Beijing's CBD, you might have noticed a subtle change: the name “Shin Kong Place” is now completed absent.
Rest assured you're not going crazy: the name has been stripped and the mall is now known merely as Beijing SKP because the Taiwanese co-developer has withdrawn from the joint venture and taken the old name with them.
The high-end shopping center was developed in 2006 by partners Beijing Hualian Investment Group and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store Co. from Taiwan. It quickly established itself as a top-notch destination for luxury goods, with outlets that included Chanel, Prada, Mikimoto and Marc Jacobs.
The mall's revenue grew at an astounding 30% annual rate between 2008 and 2011, and in 2011 it became the most lucrative shopping complex in Beijing, netting RMB 6.5 billion in revenues.
Rumors as far back as 2008 cited conflicts between the two joint venture partners. In 2013, Shin Kong finally quit the venture, taking with them their trademarks “Shin Kong Place” and the Chinese xinguang tiandi (新光天地).
While the breakup took place more than a year ago, the name change was not enforced until recently. Inside, the shopping center looks pretty much the same as usual.
The Shin Kong Group, meanwhile, has just started construction on a new Shin Kong Place, this time in partnership with Yuan Yang Real Estate. The new mall is under construction near the East Sixth Ring Road in Tongzhou. No estimated opening date has been released.
Shoppers at Beijing SKP asked by reporters from Beijing Community Daily claimed they had not even noticed the name change. Some found the new name, Beijing SKP, to be odd.
SKP is an acronym for “Shin Kong Place”, but with that gone, the S, K and P no longer stand for anything. Even more odd is that the mall has not designated a Chinese equivalent for "SKP". This is particuarly challenging because the sounds for the letters "S" and "K" (unlike letters such as P, T, B or D) have no direct phonetic equivalent in Mandarin Chinese.
A call to the shopping center to ask its Chinese name resulted in this exchange (translated from the Chinese):
the Beijinger: Hi, what's the Chinese name for this mall?
SKP: There is no Chinese name. It's just "Beijing SKP".
the Beijinger: What if I don't know how to pronounce that? Is there another way to address the place?
SKP: No. It's just Beijing SKP.
An anonymous hotline operator working for the mall told Beijing Community Daily that RMB 50 kuai would be deducted from their salary each time they accidentally used the old names.
The new Shin Kong Place in Tongzhou is rumored to be on a larger scale and even fanicer than the old one, and will be located on the Beijing Subway's Line 6, which was finished last year.
Image: Beijing SKP
Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog