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82.“Wall Street”of North China: the revival of century-old street    2008-09-22 13:51

This street records the vicissitudes of Tianjinin the past century, which can be seen fromits name. French called it Grant France Roadwhile English called it Victoria Road. It was alsocalled the Middle Street just because it was locatedat the middle line of English and Frenchsettlements. Now, it is named as North JiefangRoad. But in the past years, people liked to callit Financial Street because of its unique function.What is more, some people even called itas the Wall Street in North China.

After all the changes of one century, this 2,300-meter-long financial street and most of thefinancial buildings here have maintained theirformer style. They recorded the magnificenthistory and witnessed the vicissitudes of thisstreet. Today, there are still 26 permanentfinancial organizations, including Tianjinbranches of seven Chinese-funded banks suchas People’s Bank of China, which made it aconcentration area of financial organizations inTianjin and well-known in China.

As the concentration area in Tianjin and evenNorth China, the history of this street coulddate back to the mid-19th century.

In 1860, England and France successively builtroads and houses in their Tianjin settlements,and extended a main line of communicationfrom French Bridge (Now the Jiefang Bridge) inFrench settlement to south to go through thetwo settlements. Then, it became the heartlandas well as the political and economic center ofthe settlements.

Afterward, banks, insurance companies, businessfirms and steamship companies of othercountries came to Tianjin to set up organizationsand engaged in commercial activities. In1880, the first foreign bank, Hong Kong andShanghai Bank of England, set up its branch inTianjin and started doing business in 1882.

From the end of 19th century to the beginningof 20th century, more than 10 foreign-fundedbanks were set up in the middle street of Englandand France settlements. Because of theconcentration of foreign-funded banks, somebig business firms and insurance companiesstrived to develop their business here.

At the end of Qing dynasty, Chinese new-stylebanks emerged and developed on this street,which had became a famous financial center innorth of China before 1937.

After the liberation of Tianjin in January, 1949,foreign-funded banks pulled out of Tianjin successivelyand Tianjin branch of People’s Bankof China was set up on North Jiefang Road.After the Third Session of the Eleventh CentralCommittee of the CPC, Bank of China, AgricultureBank of China, China Construction Bankand Industrial and Commercial Bank of Chinaset up their Tianjin branches here.

The buildings in financial street are of specialfeatures. From the end of 19th century to thebeginning of 20th century, most of the buildingshere were made of reinforced concretetogether with other materials like marble,granite and red brick. The building style wasclassical revival with huge porch pillars in frontof the door. The modeling was magnificent andsolemn; after the 1930s, most of the buildingswere made of concretes and the shape was talland straight with modern function; while after1980s, high buildings of new-built bank reflectthe style of big city and modern time with multifunctionalsettings. They symbolize the newdevelopment of modern financial industry.

In 2006, Tianjin government invested RMB 14.5billion yuan and formulated a constructionplan of Tianjin financial district with the NorthJiefang Road as the axis. The financial districtcovers 113 hectares, in which the new buildingoccupies 1.3 million square meters and oldbuilding reformation occupies 800,000 squaremeters. The necessary roads, pipelines andnetwork will also be developed. The old financialstreet is reviving.    Editor: Zhao Jing
Preparatory & Coordination Committee of Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2008