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Wudaokou (Chinese: 五道口; pinyin: Wǔdàokǒu), literally in Chinese the fifth level crossing of the Jingbao Railway, is a neighborhood in the Haidian District of North West Beijing. It is around 10 km from the center of Beijing, between the fourth and fifth ring roads, and has good public transport links including a train station on Line 13 (the CityRail line) of the Beijing Subway. It became a commercial center in Haidian during the 1950s following the establishment of schools. Until as recently as 2001 the area consisted mainly of Hutong neighborhoods and late 1960s apartment blocks, but major development has erased many of these old structures, replacing them with luxury apartments and science parks. Some may also refer to Wudaokou as Koreatown, for its large number of Koreans in the area.
Wudaokou is close to a large number of universities and research institutes, including Beijing Forestry University, Beijing Language and Culture University, Peking University, Tsinghua University, University of Science and Technology Beijing, and China University of Geosciences, and as such has a large student population. Google's China office is also located here.
Wudaokou is also known for its large number of international students. Wudaokou's popularity as an international student area is reflected in its large number of bars and nightclubs (including Helen's, Global Club, Sugar Shack, Lush, Sensation and Propaganda), which generally offer cheaper prices than many similar clubs in more central areas, such as Sanlitun. The Wudaokou area is also notable for its large number of Koreans, with many signs in Korean advertising businesses, restaurants and bars located within its vicinity. Korean students make up the largest foreign student population.
While centrally located along Beijing's Line 13 Subway, the 2-lane in each direction Chengfu Lu (Chengfu Road), which runs east-west under the light-rail subway line, suffers from severe traffic congestion problems regardless of rush hour primarily because of heavy foot traffic due to subway users as well as other pedestrians looking to go from the west side of Wudaokou to the east side. Also, railway tracks parallel to and less than 30 meters away from the subway tracks cross Chengfu Lu. The railway tracks limit ways of getting from one side of Wudaokou to the other.
Prior to the 2000s the Wudaokou area was the most popular area for South Koreans. It was the oldest of the major Korean settlements. Beginning in the early 1990s South Korean students who were studying Chinese for one to two year periods so they could enter Chinese universities began congregating in Wudaokou. Hyejin Kim, author of International Ethnic Networks and Intra-Ethnic Conflict: Koreans in China, wrote that the growth of Wangjing in Chaoyang District had weakened Wudaokou as a Korean area.
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- Kim, Hyejin. International Ethnic Networks and Intra-Ethnic Conflict: Koreans in China. Palgrave Macmillan, May 15, 2010. ISBN 0230308937, 9780230308930.
- Kim, Hyejin (ISBN 0230308937, 9780230308930), page unstated (PT146) on Google Books. "Since the announcement of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, South Koreans have eagerly begun to buy newly built apartments."
- Kim, Hyejin (ISBN 0230308937, 9780230308930), page unstated (PT 145) on Google Books. "These groups can be seen in Korea towns in Beijing. Beijing has four Korean concentrated districtS: Wudaokou, Wangjing, Yansha, and Yayuncun.[...]"