Shang­hai To­mor­row

China’s ris­ing gi­ant is a

Business Traveler (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Amy Fabris-Shi

Sail­ing west­ward up the Huangpu River, just as the wa­ter­way takes a sharp turn to the south, in the bend dead ahead lies Old Shang­hai. At night bril­liant lights illuminate the stately riverfront ar­chi­tec­ture of the Bund and shim­mer across the choppy wa­ters. It’s easy to see from this van­tage point how the glam­our of this an­cient port city cap­tured the imag­i­na­tions of sailors and mer­chants over the cen­turies, and made Shang­hai a leg­end around the world.

But across the river, ris­ing like a squadron of neon Transformers, are the build­ings of Pudong, the iconic face of the New Shang­hai: The Ori­en­tal Pearl TV Tower, the Jin Mao Tower and the Shang­hai World Fi­nan­cial Cen­ter – known lo­cally as the Bot­tle Opener – all ar­rayed in glit­tery, vaguely Ve­gas lights. And in the midst gen­tly twist­ing up­ward above the rest, the world’s sec­ond-tallest build­ing, the Shang­hai Tower still un­der con­struc­tion.

With a pop­u­la­tion of more than 24 mil­lion people, Shang­hai is China’s largest city by pop­u­la­tion and among the most pop­u­lous in the world. Thanks to its ad­van­ta­geous po­si­tion at the mouth of the Yangtze River as it emp­ties into the East China Sea, Shang­hai is a global trans­porta­tion hub with the world’s busiest container port. Its po­si­tion in in­ter­na­tional trade has also made it a world fi­nan­cial cen­ter and a cos­mopoli­tan player in com­merce, cul­ture, me­dia, fash­ion and tech­nol­ogy.

In a nut­shell, the Chi­nese govern­ment’s mid-term eco­nomic plan is to con­tinue re­ly­ing on the east coast cities as the en­gines of growth, while in­vest­ing heav­ily in the coun­try’s boom­ing in­te­rior in­fra­struc­ture. The con­nec­tive thread is China’s flour­ish­ing do­mes­tic air ser­vice and the roll­out of its high-speed rail sys­tem, which to­taled around 6,200 miles by the end of 2013.

Shang­hai, at present, is the only city in China with two ma­jor air­ports – at Pudong In­ter­na­tional and Hongqiao In­ter­na­tional Air­port – and is base for China East­ern, one of China’s Big Three air­lines (the other two be­ing Air China, head­quar­tered in Bei­jing, and Guangzhou-based China South­ern). With three ma­jor train sta­tions, Shang­hai is the nexus of a de­vel­oped web of ra­di­at­ing rail lines that link it with most of China’s largest cities.

Shang­hai’s 12th Five-Year Plan, which cov­ers the 2011 to 2015 pe­riod, as­signed the Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Tourism and Re­sorts Zone, to­gether with Hongqiao Busi­ness District in the west of the city and the for­mer World Expo site span­ning both banks of the Huangpu River, as the key ar­eas for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment. To these can be added the Shang­hai Free Trade Zone, the first of its kind in China, and the Shang­hai Tower.

A sure sign of Shang­hai’s ad­vanced growth is the flour­ish­ing in­ter­na­tional ho­tel mar­ket in the down­town and commercial districts, plus the di­ver­si­fy­ing nightlife and en­ter­tain­ment scene. How­ever, Shang­hai isn’t go­ing it alone; its neigh­bors in the Yangtze River Delta – Hangzhou, Nan­jing, and Suzhou – are be­com­ing more ge­o­graph­i­cally and com­mer­cially con­joined with Shang­hai, in ad­di­tion to build­ing out their own economies and in­fra­struc­ture. As a re­sult, Shang­hai is at the epi­cen­ter of a clus­ter of delta me­trop­o­lises that are grow­ing both in­de­pen­dently and in tan­dem with one an­other, re­veal­ing a more in­te­grated model of fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.

SHANG­HAI IN­TER­NA­TIONAL TOURISM & RE­SORTS ZONE

Open­ing Date: The first phase of this vast in­te­grated tourism, sports and en­ter­tain­ment de­vel­op­ment will be launched in late 2015 when Shang­hai Dis­ney­land opens.

Lo­ca­tion: Oc­cu­pies 1,730 acres of land – plus an­other 8 square miles ear­marked for fu­ture projects – 8 miles from Pudong In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

The Fa­cil­ity: Rather vaguely de­fined, the Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Tourism & Re­sorts Zone is the city’s at­tempt to de­velop additional high-earn­ing leisure fa­cil­i­ties – in­clud­ing ho­tels, a golf course, re­tail malls, park­lands and en­ter­tain­ment cen­ters – around the po­ten­tially lu­cra­tive Shang­hai Dis­ney­land, Walt Dis­ney’s first theme park in main­land China. Sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment has been al­lo­cated to build the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture and trans­porta­tion con­nec­tions, in­clud­ing two metro lines that will ferry pas­sen­gers to and from down­town Shang­hai.

The 1,000-acre re­sort and theme park, de­vel­oped at a cost of $4.4 bil­lion, will fea­ture the fa­mil­iar mix of Dis­ney-themed char­ac­ters and movie- and an­i­ma­tion-based at­trac­tions, in­clud­ing an En­chanted Sto­ry­book Cas­tle, a 100-acre lake, two ho­tels with more than 1,200 rooms, plus shop­ping and din­ing. It also prom­ises “ex­cit­ing new el­e­ments that will be both au­then­ti­cally Dis­ney and dis­tinctly Chi­nese.”

HONGQIAO HUB

Lo­ca­tion: The 15-acre Hongqiao Hub is a busi­ness, res­i­den­tial, re­tail and life­style de­vel­op­ment fo­cused around Hongqiao In­ter­na­tional Air­port and Hongqiao Rail­way Sta­tion, a 30-minute drive west of down­town Shang­hai.

Open­ing Date: The phased open­ing of the Hub’s of­fice, leisure and re­tail de­vel­op­ments be­gan in 2011.

The Fa­cil­ity: De­vel­oped by Shui On Land, the com­pany that cre­ated the Xin­tiandi res­i­den­tial, din­ing, shop­ping and en­ter­tain­ment zone in the heart of Shang­hai, the Hongqiao Hub is an at­tempt to re­boot the commercial and res­i­den­tial ap­peal of west Shang­hai. By in­te­grat­ing the air­port and high-speed rail sta­tion

into the de­vel­op­ment, the Hub has been de­signed as an ur­ban com­plex that can serve both the Hongqiao busi­ness district and the 75 mil­lion people that live in neigh­bor­ing prov­inces within a one-hour rail jour­ney. The Hub is sub-di­vided into three smaller “hubs;” the Cor­po­rate Hub, which com­prises Class-A of­fice space; the Life­style Hub, fea­tur­ing a shop­ping cen­ter, five-star ho­tel, plus restaurants, cafes and bars; and the Cul­ture and Per­for­mance Hub com­pris­ing con­fer­ence, event and per­for­mance venues.

SHANG­HAI FREE TRADE ZONE

Lo­ca­tion: The 11-square-mile free trade zone in Pudong in­cor­po­rates the Waigao­qiao duty-free zone and the Yang­shan port.

Open­ing Date: China’s first free trade zone was launched in late Septem­ber 2013, and is be­ing de­vel­oped in phases.

The Fa­cil­ity: The China (Shang­hai) Pi­lot Free Trade Zone is be­ing viewed as an im­por­tant ex­per­i­ment, both for Shang­hai and for the Chi­nese econ­omy. It rep­re­sents a move away from the eco­nomic re­liance on state in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing ex­ports that has char­ac­ter­ized the past two decades. The FTZ is be­ing touted as a cor­ner­stone of fi­nan­cial lib­er­al­iza­tion in China by be­com­ing a cen­ter for cross-bor­der ren­minbi trans­ac­tions and in­vest­ments. This is in line with China’s ul­ti­mate strat­egy to guide the ren­minbi to­wards full con­vert­ibil­ity and be­come a global re­serve cur­rency that will ri­val the US dol­lar. A clutch of in­ter­na­tional banks has re­ceived ap­proval to start cross-bor­der ren­minbi-based trad­ing for their multi­na­tional clients from the FTZ. Up to 12 more Chi­nese cities – in­clud­ing Guangzhou, Tian­jin, Chengdu, Wuhan and Hangzhou – have ap­plied to set up free trade zones to fol­low in Shang­hai’s foot­steps.

FOR­MER SHANG­HAI WORLD EXPO SITE

Lo­ca­tion: The Expo site cov­ered two square miles, span­ning the east and west banks of the Huangpu River to the south of The Bund and Lu­ji­azui Fi­nan­cial District.

Open­ing Date: Fol­low­ing the Shang­hai World Expo, held from May-Oc­to­ber 2010, the site is be­ing re­de­vel­oped in phases.

The Fa­cil­ity: Shang­hai’s six-month World Expo in 2010 spurred a mas­sive city­wide in­fra­struc­ture over­haul that continues to­day, and gifted the city with sev­eral land­mark struc­tures. The for­mer World Expo site, which cov­ered 1,300 acres of for­mer in­dus­trial dock­yards on both banks of the Huangpu River in the south­west of the city, is be­ing trans­formed into a sus­tain­able ur­ban district filled with park­lands, prom­e­nades and cul­tural at­trac­tions. Two ma­jor arts in­sti­tu­tions opened in 2012 in for­mer Expo land­marks.

Shang­hai is at the epi­cen­ter of a clus­ter of delta me­trop­o­lises that are grow­ing both in­de­pen­dently and in tan­dem

The red crown-like for­mer China Pavil­ion in Pudong was retro­fit­ted as the China Art Palace, fea­tur­ing the world’s big­gest collection of 20th century Chi­nese art over five sto­ries. An 1890s power plant that con­tained the Expo’s Pavil­ion of the Fu­ture has been trans­formed into the Power Sta­tion of Art, China’s first state-run con­tem­po­rary art mu­seum and host of the Shang­hai Bi­en­nale. Next to the China Art Palace, a half-mil­lion-square-foot Green Val­ley project is cur­rently tak­ing shape. De­signed by Dan­ish stu­dio Sch­midt Ham­mer Lassen Ar­chi­tects and set to be com­pleted in 2015, the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment will en­com­pass of­fices, shops and restaurants, with an in­ner land­scape of green gar­dens and wa­ter fea­tures. Sev­eral state-owned, pri­vate and for­eign en­ter­prises are set­ting up head­quar­ters in the area, in­clud­ing Baos­teel, State Grid and the Commercial Air­craft Corp of China. A

9,000-space park­ing lot and shop­ping mall will con­nect un­der­ground.

SHANG­HAI TOWER

Lo­ca­tion: In the heart of the Lu­ji­azui busi­ness, shop­ping and ho­tel district, the 2,074-foot-high tower is the cen­ter­piece of the fu­tur­is­tic Pudong sky­line.

Open­ing Date: It will de­but in 2015 as China’s tallest tower, but will be over­taken by taller struc­tures cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion in Chang­sha, Shen­zhen, Suzhou and Wuhan.

The Fa­cil­ity: The third, and tallest, of Pudong’s tri­umvi­rate of su­per-tow­ers, the Shang­hai Tower soars above its shorter neigh­bors – the 1,614-foot Shang­hai World Fi­nan­cial Cen­tre (SWFC) and the 1,377foot Jin­mao Tower – and dom­i­nates the city’s sky­line. De­signed by San Fran­cis­cobased de­sign and ar­chi­tec­ture firm Gensler, con­struc­tion of the tower be­gan in 2008 and the new city land­mark was topped off in Au­gust 2013. Its two neigh­bor­ing tow­ers both fea­ture flag­ship city ho­tels, Grand Hy­att (Jin­mao) and Park Hy­att (SWFC), and the open­ing of the Shang­hai Tower will see the global un­veil­ing of a new lux­ury hos­pi­tal­ity brand, J Ho­tel, cre­ated by China’s Jin Jiang Ho­tels. The J Ho­tel will oc­cupy the 84th to 110th floors of the 121-level build­ing, which will also be home to Class A of­fices, lux­ury re­tail and din­ing, a sky-high ob­ser­va­tory and ex­hi­bi­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

HIGH-SPEED RAIL NET­WORK

Lo­ca­tion: Re­gional and na­tional in­tercity train con­nec­tions.

Open­ing Date: The on­go­ing roll­out of China’s high-speed train net­work be­gan in time for the 2008 Bei­jing Olympics, and in­cludes the 268-mph Shang­hai Ma­glev line to Pudong air­port.

The Fa­cil­ity: Less than six years since the first high-speed ser­vice con­nected Bei­jing with the port city of Tian­jin, China’s high­speed rail net­work has swiftly bur­geoned. By the end of 2013, it spanned more than 6,200 miles – over half the world’s to­tal. In ad­di­tion to fa­cil­i­tat­ing swifter trans­port of work­ers and tourists, the rail net­work has sparked the con­struc­tion of busi­ness parks and apart­ment blocks around lav­ish new rail­way sta­tions. The five-hour Shang­hai-Bei­jing route con­nects through key Yangtze delta cities in­clud­ing Kun­shan, Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou and Nan­jing. In July 2013, a high-speed line was launched link­ing the cap­i­tal of Jiangsu prov­ince, Nan­jing, with Ningbo, home to the only deep­wa­ter port in Zhe­jiang prov­ince. The line, which passes through Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang’s provin­cial cap­i­tal, re­duces travel time be­tween Nan­jing and Ningbo from more than five hours to about two hours. In De­cem­ber 2013, the 335-mile Shen­zhen-Xi­a­men line opened, the fi­nal link be­tween three ma­jor coastal eco­nomic and man­u­fac­tur­ing hubs – the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta, and pro­posed Western Tai­wan Strait Eco­nomic Zone. The line con­nects with rail lines ex­tend­ing east to Shang­hai and west­ward to Guangzhou, tak­ing about 10 hours be­tween Shen­zhen and Shang­hai, Nan­jing or Hangzhou. The route will be ex­tended to Hong Kong in 2015. BT

Above: Free Trade Zone, Tower un­der con­struc­tion Right: Hongqiao trans­porta­tion hub

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