A convenient history

Updated: 2014-09-12 11:20

(Shanghai Star)

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A convenient history

Xing Huo Day and Night Store is the first shop in Shanghai to open its doors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. photos provided to shanghai star

A convenient history
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Xing Huo was the first convenience store in Shanghai, offering the city's residents service at all hours of the night — from daily essentials, to trips to the hospital. Wang Ying reports.

Convenience stores can be found on almost every street corner in Shanghai and they are such a staple of daily life it is difficult to imagine what the city would be like without them.

But before 1968, Shanghainese were accustomed to the sun being high in the sky before the doors of any shops swung open. Once the sun set, nothing could be bought from anywhere.

The advent of the Xing Huo Day and Night Store in the late-1960s changed the lives of Shanghai residents. It was the first shop in the city to open its doors 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Xing Huo literally translates as "sporadic fire". The name comes from a famous Chinese idiom, implying that the shops would become widespread across the city.

The first Xing Huo store opened at the crossing of Xizang Road and Beijing Road in September 1968. It quickly became hugely popular with Shanghai residents, as it was the only place they could buy essentials at night for more than two decades.

In the days of the planned economy, there were at least three days a month when long lines would snake their way out of the shop —even in the middle of the night.

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