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Shanghai Hongqiao CBD: development prospects and business opportunities

 Photo: Shanghai: the ever-expanding business district. (Photo courtesy of Xinhua News Agency)
 Shanghai: the ever-expanding business district. (Photo courtesy of Xinhua News Agency)
This article is part of a series on Shanghai’s key functional zones during the 12th Five-Year Plan period and business opportunities arising therefrom.

Among the various functional zones, the Hongqiao CBD is largest in scale, highest in importance and fastest in development pace. With many distinguishing features and advantages, it also presents the greatest business opportunities.

Function advantage  

The Hongqiao CBD will become a vital vehicle for developing Shanghai as an international trade centre serving the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region, and an important comprehensive city transportation hub of the coastal region in eastern China and the YRD. It will serve as a critical instrument for implementing the national strategy; facilitating Shanghai in better serving the whole nation, the Yangtze River valley and YRD; and further promoting the building of Shanghai as a modernised metropolis. It will also emerge as a significant cluster area of the modern service industry in the western part of Shanghai.

Transportation advantage

As set out in its overall planning, the Hongqiao CBD is to be built into a transportation hub where different modes of transportation such as aviation, high-speed railway, maglev trains, inter-city trains, metro system, long-distance express buses, and city buses will converge. Take the metro system as an example, there are a number of lines including line 2, line 5, line 10 and line 13. Passengers can enjoy seamless transfer among different traffic modes. It is said to be the most comprehensive transportation hub in the world today with the widest range of transportation means. There are also "one vertical and three horizontal" highways and expressways within the Hongqiao CBD.

Convention and exhibition advantage

The Hongqiao CBD will be constructed into a national-level convention and exhibition platform. The Ministry of Commerce and the Shanghai Municipal Government have signed an agreement to jointly build a national convention and exhibition centre. Construction of this Rmb23 billion project began in late 2011 and is expected to complete by the end of 2014. Upon completion, the centre will have a net indoor exhibition space of 400,000 m2 and an outdoor exhibition area of 100,000 m2, rendering it the leading multi-purpose convention and exhibition complex worldwide in terms of size, quality, and competitiveness. The Shanghai International Technology Exchange Center was also unveiled in the Hongqiao CBD in late 2011. 

The northern part of the China Expo Convention and Exhibition Complex will feature mainly exhibition facilities while the southern part will comprise exhibition, business, hotels and other auxiliary functions. The complex will include exhibition halls and supporting offices, conference rooms, dining, commercial facilities, a technology rights trading centre, a diamond trading centre, as well as premises designated for storage and equipment rooms, passenger traffic, and transport and loading of goods. It is estimated that after completion of phase one, the exhibition space will amount to 2 million to 3 million m2. It will strive to achieve the target of having 10 million m2 of exhibition space, 400,000 visitors per day during the peak period, and 200,000 visitors per day on average upon completion of the entire project.

When completed, the China Expo Convention and Exhibition Complex will not only be a platform for conventions and exhibitions and a carrier of trade that integrates the different functions of providing product information, product display, trading, and global sourcing, but also a shopping and consumption centre attracting people from both far and near. It will embody the concept of "Exhibition + HOPSCA" with first-class convention and exhibition facilities and services as well as distinguishing commercial features (namely hotel, office, park, shopping mall, convention and apartment). Based in the YRD region, serving the whole nation, and aiming at the world, the Complex will stage two "China Fairs" every year -- the East China Fair and the China International Industry Fair (Shanghai) -- and will actively seek to bring in large-scale exhibitions from abroad, adding significant impetus to Shanghai’s economic transformation.

Cluster advantage

The core area of the Hongqiao CBD will be developed into a modernised low-carbon business community that is easily accessible and eco-friendly, and will become the cluster area of Shanghai’s emerging modern service industry. The 12 industries keenly supported by the Hongqiao CBD include modern commerce and trading; real estate; convention, exhibition, and tourism; and creative and innovative industry. This industrial orientation manifests the focus of the Hongqiao CBD on promoting the development of modern service industry, pushing forward the headquarters economy, and serving the YRD region. At the annual Shanghai Headquarter Economy Summit held at Hongqiao CBD in late 2011, the headquarters economy functional zone in west Hongqiao was recognised as a pilot base for corporate headquarters in Shanghai. The clustering of modern service industry is an advantage of the core area of the Hongqiao CBD that will be given full play.

Business opportunities   

At present, the Hongqiao CBD has a population of more than 300,000. It is expected that the number of permanent residents will increase to about 500,000 to 600,000 in three years’ time with a business population of over 200,000. This, coupled with a large floating population, will generate considerable business demand in different aspects such as shopping, dining, recreation and entertainment, daily services, and business services; and a corresponding commercial floor area of 1 million to 1.5 million m2 is required. Apart from business offices, convention and exhibition facilities, and guesthouses and hotels, there are also needs for different types of business operations such as shopping malls, department stores, supermarkets, professional service stores, specialty shops, boutiques, dining, culture and entertainment, and recreation; as well as comprehensive or specialised commercial streets and commercial pedestrian streets; and community and daily services.

The main function of the core area of the Hongqiao CBD is to provide supporting facilities and services for businesses, which include retail business, culture and entertainment, sports and recreation, high-end conferences, showcase of premium goods, dining, hotels, etc. In terms of planning and layout, instead of using the traditional model of having different functional zones, the Hongqiao CBD has adopted the highly-efficient model of intertwined, organic integration. Office buildings in the area are relatively evenly distributed. Hotels which are mostly high-end business hotels and apartment hotels are integrated with office buildings and scattered around the area, with the premium goods, convention and exhibition facilities lying on the axis offering the most fantastic views. The business function is primarily played by retail business comprising high-end, mid-range and daily shopping areas. The high-end and mid-range shopping areas are laid along the axis while the daily shopping areas, integrated with the offices, are positioned in the public area of neighbourhoods or intersections. The culture, entertainment, sports, and recreation function is fulfilled mainly by restaurants, cafes, bars, gymnasiums, theatres, art galleries, museums, etc which are interspersed with the offices and hotels.

Enterprises such as the Shui On Group, Shanghai New Changning, Wanda Group, China Vanke, SOHU China and Oriental Group are very positive about the prospects of the Hongqiao CBD and have already secured the first opportunity of participating in the development of the area. A number of projects are now well underway. Some are in the designing, developing and construction stage while others have already completed. For instance, the Acer Recreation Square, an important auxiliary project of the Hongqiao Linkong Economic Park area has already completed and started operation.

As the core commercial project of the Hongqiao CBD, The HUB, the Hongqiao Tiandi project of Hong Kong’s Shui On Group features comprehensive commercial operations including offices, exhibitions, shopping, and recreation facilities. It will not only provide support to the work and daily life of the office workers and businesspeople of the Hongqiao CBD but also offer excellent regional services for a lot of international and YRD enterprises. When completed, The HUB will capitalise on its unique geographical location in the core area of the Hongqiao CBD to provide commercial, shopping, recreational and other services for workers, residents, and the population within the high-speed railway’s one-hour radius.

by special correspondent Qi Xiaozhai, Shanghai

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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