January 04, 2018 12:20
Gray Gwanghwamun in central Seoul is the country's most profitable commercial district, ahead of glitzy Gangnam or the famous shopping area of Myeong-dong.
SK Telecom evaluated major commercial districts in the country from November 2016 to October of 2017 and found that Gwanghwamun shops rake in combined annual revenues of W5.8 trillion (US$1=W1,066). It analyzed pedestrian traffic as well as credit card spending and consumption patterns.
As recently as 2013, the dull office towers of Gwanghwamun ranked a distant 20th. But the district has soared to the top thanks in part to the huge rallies that started in downtown Seoul in late 2016 as well as other year-end events in Gwanghwamun Plaza.
But it also said more and more towers are going up, which increases the numbers of people who spend long stretches of their time there.
In second place was the Samseong Station area, followed by neighboring Seolleung Station.
Gangnam ranked first in 2013 but has plunged to No. 13 with annual revenues of W824.9 billion. The main reason is that Samsung moved huge numbers of staff from its nearby headquarters to Suwon in 2016. Suwon's Yeongtong commercial district promptly rose to 81st, its first time in the top 100.
Gwanghwamun also came in at the top in terms of per-capita monthly sales at W3.9 million. Second was the Cheonho Station area in southeastern Seoul, which also ranked seventh in terms of annual sales, with per-capita monthly revenues of W3.2 million.
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