CHINA’S Golden Gateway
Luxury yachts ply the waters of the Huangpu River dodging freighters piled high with wares and ferries crisscrossing between the towering skyscrapers of Pudong and the iconic riverfront known as the Bund. Tourists stroll along the popular waterway, but they look more like ants when viewed from the 100th floor of glistening hotel towers.
This is Shanghai, the commercial hub of China. It is also the busiest Chinese destination for corporate travelers, according to a recent report in Buying Business Travel. While Beijing is equally prominent among China’s metropolises (and perhaps more of a tourist draw for its proximity to the Great Wall), Shanghai continues to remain most attuned to the worldly ways of the West.
This means visitors want to shop here, businesses seek to put down roots, and trade is a vital part of the economy. Shanghai’s impressive connectivity improves things further with bustling ports, a pair of massive airports, and highway and rail links that span across the region.
Western companies can use Shanghai as an entry point into all of China’s consumer markets, according to Dr. Stephanie Crofton, associate dean of the Phillips School of Business at High Point University. The city is a key link in many international manufacturing corporations’ logistics chains making it a primary gateway to the immense industrial capacity of China and its reliable subcontractors.
As a result, international business travel continues to play a significant role in the region’s economy. A recent Global Business Travel Association report projects business travel spend in China is set to rise by 10.1 percent this year reaching $320.7 billion, a benchmark-setting figure which overtakes