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Zhuhai: Profile of a Consumer Market

1.  Economic Overview and Development Planning

In 2014, the GDP of Zhuhai was Rmb185.7 billion, representing a year-on-year increase of 10.3%. Reckoned in terms of its permanent population, Zhuhai’s per capita GDP was Rmb115,900.

Chart: Zhuhai’s GDP in recent years
Chart: Zhuhai’s GDP in recent years

At the end of 2014, the total output value of industrial enterprises above a designated scale in Zhuhai was Rmb369.6 billion, up 9.1% from the previous year. The added-value of six major industries rose 5% from the year earlier, of which biomedicine grew fastest, at 16.2%. The growth rate was stable for electronic information, home appliances and power generation, at 6.5%, 5.6% and 7.2% respectively, whereas petrochemicals and precision machine manufacturing showed year-on-year declines of 2.3% and 4.2% respectively.

Zhuhai will encourage the development of modern services and aims to make the brand name of "Xiangzhou services" famous (Xiangzhou being the name of one of Zhuhai’s three districts). Taking advantage of the further deepening of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau integration, Zhuhai took the initiative of accommodating the relocation of Hong Kong, Macau and international services and accelerated the development of modern logistics, conventions and exhibitions, finance and securities, legal service and other producer services. It also strove to attract large service enterprises, encouraged the development of the headquarters economy and the construction of large commercial complexes, and promoting the large-scale, brand name and web-based operations of the services sector.

Zhuhai is also a tourist city, receiving 16.35 million tourists in 2014, up 58.5%, and bringing in total tourism income of Rmb26.2 billion, up 8.3%.

The government of Zhuhai has accelerated the construction of its transportation infrastructure in recent years. The opening of the three major hub projects of Zhuhai port, airport and border checkpoint has made Zhuhai the main transport hub on the western bank of the Pearl River. Major transport projects, such as Nanping Bridge and Xianghai Bridge will begin construction in 2015. The Zhuhai government put nearly Rmb16.2 billion into investment projects in 2015, an increase of 16.6% over 2014. After the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge opens to traffic, Zhuhai will be the only port city connected both to Hong Kong and Macau. In the next three to five years, Zhuhai will accelerate the construction of the west bank city core of the Pearl River estuary and increase infrastructure construction, with the aim of completing the convergence of the main road network, rail network and other transport infrastructure projects.

According to the Zhuhai City Master Plan (2001-2020) (Amended in 2015), Zhuhai has made adjustment to the objectives and nature of urban development. Zhuhai, which will be further integrated into the development of Hong Kong and Macau, will accelerate Hengqin, Gaolan and the western ecological new city construction and build the west bank city core of the Pearl River estuary. Due to re-arrangement in its city space, together with factors like stronger ties between Zhuhai, Hong Kong and Macau, and closer connection in industrial development and urban functions after completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, Zhuhai has made plans for urban function areas. These urban areas will include the high-tech zone, the western city and the Hengqin New Area, which include the building of the ‘core urban districts and Hengqin New Area - New Town - central towns’ to improve regional spatial structure and layout.

2.  Zhuhai's Consumer Market

2.1  Growth in Retail Sales

Zhuhai registered double-digit growth in total retail sales of consumer goods every year in the past few years. In 2014, retail sales of consumer goods in Zhuhai amounted to Rmb81.6 billion, up 13.2% year on year. In the retail sales of enterprises above a designated scale, car sales amounted to Rmb10.24 billion (+28.1%), sales of food, beverages, tobacco and wine amounted to Rmb4.84 billion (+16.6%), sales of clothing, footwear, headgear and textiles amounted to Rmb1.88 billion (+17.2%), sales of home appliances and audio-visual products amounted to Rmb1.54 billion (+2.5%), and sales of daily-use articles amounted to Rmb720 million (+20.3%).

Chart: Retail sales of consumer goods
Chart: Retail sales of consumer goods

2.2  Per Capita Disposable Income and Consumption Expenditure

Per capita disposable income of urban households in Zhuhai was Rmb35,287 in 2014, while per capita consumption expenditure of urban households was Rmb26,638.

Chart: Per capita disposable income and consumption expenditure of urban households in Zhuhai
Chart: Per capita disposable income and consumption expenditure of urban households in Zhuhai

3.  Characteristics of Zhuhai’s Consumer Market

3.1  Population Structure

Zhuhai had a permanent population of 1.614 million at the end of 2014, Of this number, 1.102 million had household registration in Zhuhai. According to China's sixth population census, among the permanent population in 2010, 52% were male, 13.5% were aged 0-14, 81.6% were aged 15-64, and 4.9% were aged 65 or above.

The education level of the permanent population has risen significantly. Among the city's population, 18% had university education, 25% had senior high school education, 33% had junior high school education, and 16% had primary school education. Compared with the fifth national census 10 years earlier, the number of people with university education increased from 7,503 to 16,182 per 100,000 people.

There were 450,000 households in Zhuhai, with an average size of 2.8 persons. The average household size had decreased by 0.28 person from 10 years earlier.

3.2  Characteristics of Consumers

Zhuhai has a broad spectrum of consumers, including local residents, domestic consumers, Macau residents, as well as Chinese and foreign tourists. Its domestic consumption is mainly on daily necessities, plus mid-range and some high-end clothing made domestically. It is losing a lot of real high-end consumption to Macau and Hong Kong.

Macau people going to spend in Zhuhai are usually not high-end consumers. The majority are low- to middle-income people, but there are also young fad-followers and businesspeople dealing in imported goods from Macau. Some middle-aged and old people of the low- to middle-income brackets regularly cross the border and go to Zhuhai to buy fresh food, fruit and other cheap foodstuffs, mainly for their own consumption, but they rarely go to Zhuhai to buy daily use articles. Young fad-followers may patronise bars and entertainment venues in Zhuhai on weekends as these are cheaper than in Macau. Some Macau businesspeople would take goods that are cheaper in Macau to Zhuhai or vice versa and make a profit on the price difference.

Zhuhai's consumer market mainly comprises mid-market and mass-appeal commercial districts, large supermarkets, department stores and independent stores. Department stores, supermarkets, specialised markets, and leisure, catering and recreation venues are the principal types of business in Zhuhai. There are restrictions to the development of high-end business. Economic development and the level of consumption are the main factors restricting Zhuhai's development of high-end commerce. Zhuhai lies next to Macau and Hong Kong and the PRD is well-served by a good transport network. Zhuhai consumers can find numerous first-tier international brands in Hong Kong and Macau, where the price is cheaper than on the mainland. The city is losing most of its high-end consumption and business entertainment spending to Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Zhuhai's consumer market is mainly about shopping. The areas devoted to restaurants, leisure and entertainment are relatively small. These facilities are quite limited in variety and small in scale. The existing shopping centres are not comprehensive enough in their range of businesses and do not have enough space for restaurants, leisure and entertainment to satisfy the demands of different types of consumers for one-stop consumption. In spite of this, Zhuhai's consumer market has been on a steadily upward trend on the whole in recent years and there is still considerable potential and room for further improvement.

4.  Profiles of Zhuhai's Major Commercial Districts

There are six major commercial districts in Zhuhai, namely Gongbei, Jida, Old Xiangzhou, New Xiangzhou, Qianshan and Nanping, all of which are located around Banzhang Mountain. In Gongbei and Jida, the two biggest consumer centres in Zhuhai, the shops and shopping centres are relatively large. They have a fuller range of businesses and are busier and richer in atmosphere. The other commercial districts support business areas with smaller operations and a relatively small range of businesses.

Gongbei

The Gongbei commercial district is made up of Yingbin Road, Yuehai Road East, Qinglv South Road and the Gongbei checkpoint. With distinct geographical advantages, it is Zhuhai's most prosperous area, with the longest history of commercial development.

Gongbei adjoins Macau and its main area is centrally located. It is a market leader in commerce thanks to its long history. It has Yingbin Road as its axis and is surrounded by Yingbin Plaza, CR Vanguard, Zhuhai Port Plaza, Milan Department Store and Lianhua Road pedestrian street. Since the area lies right next to the border checkpoint, consumers here include Macau residents, tourists and local people. The consumers are mostly aged between 15 and 35 and their spending power is high.

Gongbei is Zhuhai's commercial centre and transportation hub, as well as an important gateway to Macau. With the Gongbei Port Underground Plaza, Lianhua Road commercial street and CR Vanguard as leaders, supplemented by numerous leisure and entertainment facilities, restaurants and the Shuiwantou bar street, it is the district with the highest concentration of commercial, trading, financial, tourist and entertainment facilities in Zhuhai. The patrons mainly comprise Macau residents, tourists and local residents. Daily pedestrian flow is heavy.

Lianhua Road is a famous commercial street in downtown Gongbei. Adjoining Macau, this is the prime section of Zhuhai where property prices are the highest. It is also Zhuhai's earliest commercial centre. As an important window of Zhuhai's and China's opening to the outside world, Lianhua Road is representative of Zhuhai's urban commercial development and is a showcase for its achievements in urban reform, opening up and economic prosperity. The successful renovation of the Lianhua Road pedestrian shopping street will be of great significance in further improving Zhuhai's urban environment, increasing the city's vitality and upgrading its overall functions.

Picture: Zhuhai’s Major Commercial Districts
Picture: Zhuhai’s Major Commercial Districts

Jida

The Jida commercial district centres round Jingshan Road. It has a total business area of about 150,000 sqm and mainly comprises large shopping malls, such as Zhuhai Shopping Mall, Zhuhai Duty Free Store and Hita Plaza. It is the commercial district with the best overall image in Zhuhai and is the main consumption venue for mid- to high-income households in the city.

Jida has the highest concentration of upmarket businesses in Zhuhai. There is also an upmarket district with Ridong Department Store on Qinglv Middle Road at the core. High quality supporting commercial facilities make Jida the most representative high-end commercial district in Zhuhai.

This clean and quiet district, with a lot of high-end property developments and seaview hotels, is a definitive convergence of upmarket communities in Zhuhai. The comfortable environment and good business atmosphere of the Zhuhai Duty Free Store, Zhuhai Shopping Mall and other large shopping and leisure centres makes this district a busy place for mid- to high-end consumption in Zhuhai. The district mainly serves local mid- to high-end consumers.

Old Xiangzhou

Many Zhuhai people have a nostalgic feeling about Old Xiangzhou because it was from this small area that Zhuhai gradually developed and expanded, becoming today’s thriving and charming coastal city. Old Xiangzhou is the old city district of Zhuhai, with the richest cultural and living ambience in the city. With a large population, good public facilities and education resources, Old Xiangzhou enjoys great advantages for development into a commercial district. The popularity developed here over the past couple of decades is unmatched by other regions. It is the oldest commercial and residential district of Zhuhai, as well as the seat of many government departments. Favourable timing, geographical advantage and consumer support make the place an important political and commercial centre, as well as centre for everyday activities.

Old Xiangzhou has two core commercial districts: The first has Nankeng as centre and is a community-based commercial centre dominated by supermarkets like Maoye Department Store and A.Best Supercenter. The second has Xiangzhou Department Store at the core, with neighbouring Yale Square, Shangdu Department Store, Minghe Department Store and Xiangbu Road together forming a modern urban commercial centre. Fenghuang Road and Xiangbu Road were the earliest commercial centres of Zhuhai. With the development of the city and changes in market demand, the commercial advantage of Fenghuang North Road is becoming more manifest.

New Xiangzhou

New Xiangzhou is a rising star of Zhuhai's commercial property development. Known as ‘Zhuhai's fourth major commercial district’, New Xiangzhou has caught up with the city's three most established commercial districts of Gongbei, Xiangzhou and Jida within a few years.

New Xiangzhou is the administrative, cultural and sports centre of Zhuhai, a city centre that combines residential with city-level administration, sports and cultural functions. As the city develops and matures and with the construction of major functional departments and supporting units, the positioning of New Xiangzhou becomes much clearer and better defined.

As the administrative support centre of Zhuhai's Xiangzhou District, there are many government offices, public organisations and city-level education institutions in New Xiangzhou. The comprehensiveness and level of these facilities are by no means inferior to those in the old city district. The presence of large commercial establishments, supermarkets and featured stores in every residential area and street gives the place a convenient, interesting and closely-knit commercial network.

Around New Xiangzhou are long-established commercial centres like Carrefour, Wangjiao Department Store and Wuzhou Huacheng commercial street. At the centre of this commercial district are CR Vanguard, Yanlord New City Garden commercial street and Wal-Mart. New Xiangzhou has become a bustling high-end commercial district with ever-improving commercial facilities.

Qianshan

The commercial district of Qianshan mainly serves local residents and is a district-level commercial centre. The principal mode of business operation is commodity retailing, with facilities such as a specialised building materials market and a car city. The opening of the Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity Railway and the construction of supporting government projects have upgraded Qianshan's commercial layout. The opening of the light rail will bring growing passenger traffic and change Qianshan's district classification and function, thus bringing greater prospects for commercial development. The upmarket residential developments along the northern bank of the river have generated a demand for high-end products and increased the potential for mid- to high-end commercial developments. The commercial district will develop in a more middle-class direction.

Qianshan's commercial district is made up of two commercial sub-centres:

(1)  Jinji Road commercial district - the arrival of big businesses, like CR Vanguard, Gome Electrical Appliances and KFC, makes Jinji Road a fast growing commercial district and top-end brand new commercial centre in Qianshan.

(2)  Daishan Road commercial cluster - this commercial cluster is built around upmarket residential developments on Daishan Road and will become a leisure and commercial district serving the nearby communities.

Nanping

This is an emerging commercial centre for the future. According to the Xiangzhou District Planning Department, Nanping will be built into a commercial/residential district with several high-end residential developments. Today, shopping facilities in the district, such as Huafa Mall, still mainly cater to the local community and commercial facilities are lacking.

Located in Nanping's Huafa New Town, Huafa Mall is made up of the 60,000 sqm Xinzhicheng (新之城), developed by China Resources, and a featured commercial street of close to 40,000 sqm. Modelled after Shenzhen's MixC Mall, Xinzhicheng plans to bring upmarket brands into its CR Vanguard supermarket and department store. With a mix of flagship stores for domestic and international brands, boutiques, home decoration stores, food halls, a children's playground and cinemas, this will be a large theme mall for one-stop shopping, leisure, dining and entertainment.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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