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Former Shanghai Expo site: development prospects and business opportunities

 Photo: Post-Expo development of the former Expo site offers immense business opportunities. (Courtesy of Xinhua News Agency)
 Post-Expo development of the former Expo site offers immense business opportunities. (Photo courtesy of Xinhua News Agency)
This is the third part of a series on Shanghai's key functional zones during the 12th Five-Year Plan period and business opportunities arising therefrom.

During the 12th FYP period, Shanghai is giving full play to the resource advantages – both tangible and intangible -- brought about by the World Expo 2010. The post-Expo development of the former Expo site and its surrounding areas is speeding up with the Expo site as the development core. The key construction includes a cluster of modernised commercial landmark buildings, an international convention centre, a major metropolitan shopping centre and some hospitality facilities. These developments will integrate high-end business, commercial and cultural elements to form a comprehensive commercial district with international profile and global influence. It will eventually become a new carrier and growth pole in the development of Shanghai's service economy which will be equipped with international economic elements and resources. The development prospects of the former Expo site and its surrounding areas are favourably regarded by many enterprises, and the related investment promotion, construction and operation are now in full swing.

I.   Planning of the former Expo site and its surrounding areas

As planned, the entire Expo site will be developed into "five zones and one belt", namely a cultural museum zone and an urban best practices zone at Puxi; the global community zone, the convention, exhibition and business zone, and the Houtan development zone at Pudong; as well as the Binjiang ecological and leisure landscape belt.

1. Cultural museum zone

The former Jiangnan Shipyard site with an area of 0.93 km2 will be developed into a world class museum and culture cluster, comparable to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. of the United States and the Museum Island in Berlin of Germany. The features of the former shipyard site will be retained at the same time for conservation purpose. To be designed by a world-renowned architect by invitation, the museum cluster will not only introduce iconic national cultural facilities that commensurate with the Expo status and Expo themes, but will also bring in world-renowned museum chains such as Guggenheim and Tate. 

2. Global community zone

The former Expo Village with an area of 0.63 km2 in Pudong will be transformed while integrating the village architecture and retaining its architectural functions. High class star-grade hotels, apartment hotels, business hotels and apartment buildings will be constructed to form an international community with international cultural features and diversified lifestyles. It will inherit the functions of the former Expo Village to develop ecological living facilities with optimal daily life and employment support services. At the central core of the Zone, the "Green Valley" project is planned to comprise mainly office and business support facilities to form a genuine round-the-clock ever-bright community.

3. Convention, exhibition and business zone

The area comprising the Expo Axis and four permanent pavilions with an area of 1.94 km2 will be turned into an international convention, exhibition and business cluster. During its construction, the zone has already set up the related underground infrastructure of hospitality facilities and exhibition galleries. The Expo Center will become an international convention and exhibition centre. It will be constructed for holding mainly large-scale international conventions and forums as well as exhibitions with special themes. The zone will bring in business headquarters to form a new-style theme-based commercial complex. The original China Pavilion will serve as the core of development with convention and exhibition support services and business functions to form an international convention, exhibition and business cluster that incorporates convention, exhibition, business, office, high-end commercial and functional support facilities.

West of the newly-developed River Mall at the former Expo site will be the headquarters base of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) under the central government. So far, a number of SOEs such as Baosteel Group, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Guodian, Aluminum Corporation of China, Huadian, CITIC, Huaneng, Sinochem, China State Construction, Sinotrans, China Merchants Group, China Reform Holdings and National Gold Group have signed contracts for stationing at the zone. Upon its completion in 2014, there will be 28 office buildings with a total floor area of nearly 600,000 m2 in the Zone.
North of the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center will be a cluster of Expo hotels with a total floor area of 325,000 m2, comprising one five-star-plus hotel, one five-star hotel and two boutique hotels that offer some 1,200 guest rooms in total. Undoubtedly, many of the upmarket businessmen staying at these hotels will have strong spending potentials.

East of the River Mall is the China Art Museum which is converted from the former China Pavilion and has a floor area of 167,000 m2 and a display area of 60,000 m2. Since its opening in October 2012, the Museum perennially displays artistic treasures that reflect the origins and development of contemporary and modern arts of China on the basis of the art collection of state-owned art organisatons of Shanghai. Through liaison with world-renowned art museums, collaboration has also been made to display contemporary and modern art treasures of other countries with a view to shaping the Museum as a contemporary and modern classical art cultivation centre of China and a display centre of oriental and western cultural exchanges.

East of the River Mall also lies the Expo Cultural Center which is now renamed Mercedes-Benz Arena and has a floor area of 160,000 m2 with a movie theatre cineplex set up at the top of the venue. The main functions of the Arena are to stage live entertainment shows, sport events and other live performances related to fashion and style, as well as to provide commercial services. A number of commercial performances and spectacular celebration activities have already been successfully held. At the centre of the Arena, there is a large, multi-functional performance space of 76,000 m2 which can be partitioned and divided as and when necessary. The Arena also has a music club, movie theatres, a skating rink, a children playground, and a catering and commercial retail area of nearly 20,000 m2, which has already come into operation.

West of the River Mall is the Expo Theme Pavilion covering a floor area of 129,000 m2 with an exhibition area of 70,000 m2. Already coming into operation, this Pavilion can make up the shortfall of 50,000 to 100,000 m2 of exhibition space in Shanghai.

West of the River Mall also lies the Expo Center with a floor area of 140,000 m2. It is a first-class convention venue by international standards and is designed to hold various kinds of national affairs related activities and administrative meetings. It has become another political landmark of Shanghai but is also open for commercial patronage.

4. Urban best practices zone

With an area of 0.42 km2, the urban best practices zone will bring in the world's top creative enterprises and workshops with a view to building up a world-class cultural creativity district.

5. Houtan development zone

Covering an area of 1.4 km2, Houtan reserves strategic space for the sustainable development of the city. To integrate with the completed Houtan Wetland Park, pass on the Expo memories, interpret ecological concepts and draw in public activities, it will be developed into a public activity zone that embraces ecological, business, residential and cultural functions under the development plan.

To the south of Houtan is an area called Qiantan which will be entrusted with the functions of a service economy, headquarters economy and open economy. Qiantan will house a sport, media and cultural cluster, a cluster for non-financial multinational headquarters and headquarters of enterprises that are in a fast-growing stage, as well as a modernised international community. Together with the former Expo site, it will become a world-class central activity zone. In contrast to Lujiazui which performs exceptional economic functions, Qiantan will focus more on the overall urban functions. While drawing in new economic entities, Qiantan also attaches great importance to urban development such as residential areas. A round-the-clock, dynamic urban district will emerge encompassing new- and high-tech services of a high standard, an urban sub-centre, as well as integrated commercial, residential and office facilities.

The initial development of Qiantan has attracted a one-off injection of some Rmb10 billion. The project is expected to stimulate investment of more than Rmb100 billion in the long run. At its northern side, the Oriental Sports Center has already been completed while at the centre, a high-rise business district is developed. The southern side mainly devotes to residential buildings.

6. Binjiang ecological and leisure landscape belt

This belt is made up of Houtan Park, Expo Park and the greenbelts along the river. The entire Expo site covers a variety of hotel, apartment, convention and exhibition, office, commercial and cultural facilities. It will begin to come into shape in two to three years' time.

II.  Commercial advantages of the former Expo site

The numerous commercial advantages of the former Expo site have provided a solid basis for post-Expo development and operation.

1. Domestic and international popularity

During its six-month duration, Shanghai World Expo 2010 has attracted an accumulated total of 73 million visitors. The success in organising the Expo has effectively enhanced the popularity and good fame of Shanghai, Pudong, the former Expo site and the surrounding areas.

2. Optimal accessibility and facilities

The hosting of the Expo has led to great improvement in the accessibility and infrastructure of the area surrounding the Expo site. Promoting rail transportation, the public transport mode of the Expo district has made full use of the four metro lines of No. 4, 6, 7 and 8 as well as 12 metro stations while line No. 13 will also come into operation shortly.  On the ground level, there is a web-like network of more than 20 transport routes that covers the roads in the surrounding areas. Ground-level public transport interchange and hub facilities of the Expo district have been strengthened. Ground routes have also been reserved for the operation of new tram rails that extend over a length of about 3 km from Puming Road in the vicinity of Nanpu Bridge along Expo Boulevard southbound to Houtan.

3. Customer traffic brought by conventions and trade fairs

While the operation of commercial buildings will bring about day-to-day office workers and business contacts, conventions and exhibitions will draw in exhibitors, convention participants and visitors. Upon the official completion and operation of the international community zone, some 200,000 people will come to work here. The completion of the SOE headquarters base in 2014 will provide office space for another 150,000 people. Consequently, there will not only be demands for lunch, beauty, fitness, entertainment, shopping and socialising facilities from the white-collar workers, but will also be demands from companies and organisations stationed here.

4. Tourist and leisure seeker traffic

Upon completion of the cultural museum zone, the iconic national cultural facilities and world-renowned museum chains such as Guggenheim and Tate will draw in visitors from across the country and overseas. There are also local residents of Shanghai coming for leisure and fun. As a result, the demands for dining and shopping will be stimulated.

5. Daily necessity demands of local residents

Within 3 km around the Expo Axis will house 800,000 people, generating an enormous demand for daily necessities.

The former Expo site and its surrounding commercial area have been positioned to become a distinctive commercial centre. River Mall Phase One, the shopping centre transformed from the original Expo Axis, has taken the lead to open for operation on 28 December, 2012. Situated adjacent to Huangpu River, River Mall Phase One mainly draws in medium- to high-end dining facilities that embrace the exotic features of different countries. These facilities are mainly large-scale or specialty eateries that offer famous cuisines of various styles. Upmarket clubs and pubs are also found in this Mall.

from special correspondent Qi Xiaozhai, Shanghai Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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