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News You Might Have Missed: Winter Heating, New Stores and Soon-to-Open Subways

Date: 2012-10-25

Winter's just around the corner … are you counting the days until the heating goes on? Around town, new stores are opening up, new subway lines are preparing to fling open their doors, and travel is getting a little different (perhaps easier?) with a large traffic hub and new visiting visa rules.

The few weeks of autumn are quickly giving way to winter and Beijingers are once again waiting for the city to turn on the heat. Just in case you've forgotten (or are new in town), the radiators come to life and the warm air starts blowing on November 15. The blessed heat only kicks in earlier if we experience five straight days with an average temperature is 5C (41F) or below. The Beijing Heating Association meets tomorrow to discuss the possibility of an earlier start date.

Apple opened its latest Beijing retail location (and the largest in Asia) this past Saturday on Wangfujing. We got a sneak peek at the store a few days before the crowds descended on the three-story space. If a free T-shirt and a glass staircase weren't enough to get you out of bed at 9am (or to wait overnight in the cold), you can see what you missed out on at Micgadet.com.

Speaking of large stores, American Apparel has opened a second Beijing branch in Parkview Green. It's reportedly the clothing chain's largest international location.

Line 6 subway stations have started popping up along Chaoyangmen Dajie and Chaoyang Beilu as the December opening approaches. The east-west line will finally offer a convenient transportation option to and from the Nanluogu Xiang/Houhai area. In addition to Line 6, three other lines will be opening soon:

•Line 8. Extending south to Gulou Dajie on Line 2

•Line 9. Extending north to the National Library stop on Line 4. (This finally connects Beijing West Railway Station to the rest of the grid!)

•Line 10. The Third Ring Road Line will extend from both terminus stations, nearly completing the full loop.

Beijing will be opening its largest traffic hub on Saturday. Sihui, at the intersection of the East Fourth Ring Road and Jingtong Expressway, will tie together subway, long-distance and city buses, taxi and bicycle systems. The station, similar to Dongzhimen's transportation hub, is expected to serve 410,000 passengers daily, with up to 60,000 commuters streaming through the hub during rush hours.

Beijing has approved a 72-hour visa-free stay. The move, similar to visa rules in Shanghai and Hainan, is meant to boost tourism as travelers opt for extended stopovers to see the city. Three days, if planned right, could cover a whole lot of sites and plenty of duck and dumplings. (From: micgadget.com)