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Market becomes major Seoul attraction

Posted January. 12, 2001 12:29,   


Tongdaemun Market in Seoul, which has established itself as a world-renowned shopping spot, is full of the vitality of youth. Young lovers stroll through the shops in the market that never sleeps.

The gigantic market is divided in two sections: the Dongpyonje block, where retailers and wholesalers coexist; and the Sopyonje block, composed of mammoth shopping malls such as Doosan Tower, Preya Town and Milleorae.

Both Korean retailers and foreign merchants poke their noses in the shops here, there and elsewhere in the market in search of popular items, and the eateries selling noodles and kimbap -- slightly vinegared rice balls rolled in a sheet of laver -- are crowded with shoppers, many of whom should wait to be seated.

Goods of world¡¯s top brands and imitations coexist in the market that is famous for the ultra-low-priced items popularity today.

Customers conveniently may purchase goods of low prices but high quality in Tongdaemun Market, which used to be a major supply route for gifts for national holidays such as Chusok -- Korean Thanksgiving Day-- and Sollal -- the lunar New Year¡¯s Day.

Tongdaemun transforms:

Tongdaemun (East Grand Gate of Seoul) Market opened in 1905 under the original name of Kwangjang (plaza) Market and has been overwhelmed by Namdaenum (South Grand Gate) Market. But in mid-1990s, it grew twice as big as Namdaemun Market with about 29,000 shops in 26 shopping blocs.

Its exports of garments of independent brands and ready-made clothes reach US$1 billion a year, so it is known as Fashion Design Valley. Now, the market is symbolized by rapid changes of popular goods and mammoth shopping malls, and has surged into the largest shopping district in Seoul.

It is listed as one of the five largest shopping districts along with Namdaemun, Shinchon, Chongno, Kangnam Station of Subway No. 2 Line, leading other shopping zones in the capital city.

Market has many sights:

Young people in their teens and 20s account for more than 70 percent of the customers visiting the Sopyonje block, where gigantic shopping malls such as Doosan Tower are lined.

To attract more young people, the big shopping malls offer diverse performances of singers and other entertainers on their outdoor stages after 9 or 10 p.m. Quiz contests or dance parties also add to the vital atmosphere.

In recent days, big movie houses, sports centers like fitness clubs and game arcades for youngsters have opened one after another in the district.