Shanghai's focus on North Bund continues

Updated: 2012-08-29 09:53

By Xie Yu in Shanghai (China Daily)

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Shanghai's booming North Bund area has developed dramatically over the past decade, and that massive growth will continue apace as companies involved in shipping, financial services and other key industries flock to the area.

That's according to Sun Jianping, Party secretary of Shanghai's Hongkou district, who told China Daily that the latest figures show there are more than 3,000 shipping service companies and 20 major industry bodies and institutions headquartered in North Bund.

He added that the area - facing the famous Bund financial strip and Lujiazui areas across the Huangpu River - has ambitious plans to establish itself as one of the world's most modern and ambitious shipping and financial services clusters.

Sun said so far, cumulative investment has reached 26 billion yuan ($4.1 billion) for major projects in the area, with floor space totaling 2.15 million square meters.

"Usually, the simple throughput of a port is highlighted. However, we care more about the port's ability to allocate resources where they are needed best, especially improving high-end services for the shipping sector," Sun told China Daily.

In 2009, the State Council officially designated North Bund as central to the ongoing development of Shanghai as an international shipping center.

The international passenger transport center of Shanghai and Shanghai international shipping service center have been completed and are already in use.

More than 90 financial services companies have set up operations in the area, running businesses including fund management, equity investment, and assets investment.

"As the Bund and Lujiazui areas have become saturated, North Bund still provides sufficient space for further expansion, particularly those in financial services," Sun said.

Away from North Bund, the district authorities have also been focusing on a plan to renovate North Sichuan Commercial Road, considered the third-longest commercial street in Shanghai after Nanjing Road and Huaihai Road.

One of the first streets built after Shanghai opened up to foreign trade, it is 3.7 km long on the north bank of Suzhou Creek.

The famous thoroughfare has becomes less prosperous in recent years, but Sun said there are also plans afoot to kick-start its fortunes by developing it into a distribution center for imported goods.

Sun said he has been holding discussions in particular with Japanese household-goods manufacturers and retailers.

"As consumer demand in Japan has dropped, Chinese consumers have remained thirsty for products, so why not introduce the companies and their products to Shanghai, particularly North Sichuan Road?" Sun said.

As well as Japanese investors, there is also considerable interest from South Korean and Taiwan companies planning to use the area as their sales and distribution centers.