Forbidden City’s Palace Museum Earned USD222 Million, Is World’s Most Popular

Yicai Global 第一财经
2 min readFeb 20, 2019


(Yicai Global) Feb. 19 — Located in Beijing’s Forbidden City, the Palace Museum’s income outstripped that of 1,500 Chinese listed companies in 2017 and it became the world’s most visited museum last year, according to its director.

The Palace Museum earned CNY1.5 billion (USD222 million) two years ago thanks to culturally innovative products and attracted 17 million visitors last year, Shan Jixiang said in a recent speech.

Founded in 1925, the museum sits in a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a comprehensive institution built on the foundations of the imperial palaces of the Ming and Qing dynasties and their collections. It is also the largest museum of ancient culture and art in China.

It had brought out more than 10,000 culturally innovative products by the end of 2017, public data shows. These are sold in the museum and through various e-commerce platforms. Earlier this year, the museum released a range of lipsticks inspired by objects in its collection and sold more than 900,000.

Speaking at the 19th Annual Conference of the Yabuli China Entrepreneurs Forum on Feb. 17, Shan also said income from such products rose to CNY1 billion in 2016 from CNY600 million in 2013.

After years of management overhaul and renovation, more than four-fifths of the Forbidden City is now open to the public. The museum displays about 20,000 cultural relics a year, which is twice the number of 2012. The ratio of items on show to its entire collection will reach 8 percent this year, Shan said. It was 3 percent last year.

The Palace Museum homes more than 1.68 million precious cultural relics, accounting for almost 42 percent of China’s total number, Shan told the forum.



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