Ancient franchise pawn shops restored in China

Local governments in east China's Anhui Province are restoring several centuries-old pawn shops.

The pawn shops are located in the three ancient towns of Zhegao, Tongyang and Yuncao. They belonged to Li Hongzhang, one of the top officials of the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and his family.

The pawn shop in Yuncao will reopen to the public in early 2016, according to the local government.

The pawn shop in Zhegao covers more than 5,000 square meters; the shop in Tongyang 1,000 square meters. All of them were built in the traditional Huizhou architectural style. Restoration will be loyal to their original designs.

Pawn shops were a major source of loans in ancient China. Li's pawn shops have historical values as they played a role in the financial development of China.