(Yicai Global) April 9 -- The curator of China's Palace Museum, better known as the Forbidden City, has retired after seven years in charge of the Beijing tourist attraction.
Wang Xudong, the former director of Dunhuang Research Academy, will succeed Shan Jixiang in the role, local newspaper The Beijing News reported.
Born in 1954, Shan graduated from Tsinghua University's school of architecture and holds a doctorate degree in engineering. He once served as the head of the cultural heritage administration for both the state and Beijing. He became the sixth curator of the museum in 2012.
Under his leadership, the open areas within the imperial place have been expanded to 80 percent of the total as of the end of last year, up from just over half in 2014. He has increased the proportion of the site's 1.9 million artifacts on display to tourists to 8 percent from a mere 1 percent in 2012.
The number of visitors to the attraction reached 17 million last year, making it the most-visited museum worldwide. He also presided over the launch of an official website for the museum also offering cultural and creative products, which also boosted tourist numbers. Annual sales hit CNY1.5 billion (USD233 million) in 2017.
Shan previously stated he will continue as a volunteer at the museum after his retirement.
His successor Wang was born in Gansu province in February 1967 and graduated from Lanzhou University's school of earth sciences. He currently serves as party secretary at Dunhuang Research Academy, as well as an adjunct professor and doctoral advisor at Lanzhou University and Northwest University.
Wang came to Dunhuang Research Academy in 1991 and got involved with the protection of murals and earth sites at Mogao Caves. He was appointed director December 2014.
Editor: William Clegg