Many of the shops carried fake goods of one kind or another, and the rumor was that Chinese authorities were going to crackdown on these
fake sellers. Retailers responded by getting the heck out of Dodge, leaving the shopping area in tumbleweeds.
According to China Hush, the following day, the Shenyang city government issued a notice that, after an emergency meeting by the local government, the crackdown ceased "in hope of all vendors to resume normal business." That's right, normal business. Many retailers, however, didn't immediately return.
Check out Kotaku's tour of China's illegal (and totally blatant) gray market for video games.