North Sichuan Road, which starts from where the Huangpu River and the Suzhou Creek converge, is a renowned commercial street in Shanghai, on par with Nanjing Road and Huaihai Road. It runs for 3.7 km from the Suzhou Creek in the south to Lu Xun Park in the north, covering an area of about 2.48 km2 – one-tenth of the total area of Hongkou District.
North Sichuan Road has a long history and rich cultural background. Originally built in 1877, it was extended for commercial development dur ing the late Qing Dynast y and the Republican period, growing into an area known for trade in Shanghai in the early years after the fouFnding of the People’s Republic of China. Since the implementation of the country’s reform and opening-up policy, North Sichuan Road has benefited from successive phases of construction and improvement, fostering further commercial development and has matured on the basis of low-carbon, intelligent urban planning geared to convenience. In the neighborhood, high-end trade and business develop hand in hand offering customers the ultimate consumer experience.
New businesses and commercial office premises along North Sichuan Road have come to occupy about 1,000,000 m2 and 800,000 m2 respectively over the past few years, with an additional area of about 500,000 m2 under construction. The street is home to over 500 stores, 2,000 franchises offering shopping, catering and entertainment and about 3,000 commercial enterprises. Total annual consumer retail sales exceed RMB 12 billion, accounting for approximately 50% of the whole Hongkou District.
A Five-by-Three Urban Layout
As the pace of construction along North Sichuan Road accelerates and completion nears, the underlying framework of a five-by-three urban layout will become increasingly apparent, and use of available commercial space will be optimized.
Middle Section: Shopping Cluster/Fashion Cluster
North Section: Sports and Recreational Cluster/Cultural and Entertainment Cluster
South Section: High-end Business Cluster
SPATIAL LAYOUT: NORTH SECTION
North Section (from West Dalian Road to West Hailun Road).The “North Section” centers around Hongkou Plaza, the Hongkou Football Stadium, Lu Xun Park and Duolun Road Pedestrian Street, radiating out to Shanyin Road, Liyang Road, Tian’ai Road, Tongxin Road and East Tiyuhui Road. The section concentrates offices and shopping malls, entertainment and recreational activities, a tourist center and a transportation hub.
SPATIAL LAYOUT: MIDDLE SECTION
Middle Section (from West Hailun Road to Haining Road).Centered around Printemps, Jiajie International Plaza, One Prime, CITIC Plaza Shenhong, and North Sichuan Road Park, the Middle Section is a modern and comprehensive shopping zone including shopping malls and large specialty stores. This section is designed to offer the best in fashion, personalized shopping and culture.
SPATIAL LAYOUT: SOUTH SECTION
South Section (from Haining Road to Suzhou Creek).The CITIC Plaza, along with the Shanghai Plaza 108 and the Hongcheng Financial Center still under construction, will form the core of the South Section providing business services for the “North Bund” and the “Old Bund.” Sophisticated business premises and shopping precincts in this section will provide high end waterfront services and themed shopping malls centering around the country-specific trade centers. The south section also aims to attract businesses, such as import companies and medium sized enterprises by offering targeted business facilities.
NEW DEVELOPMENT TRENDS
With improved infrastructure and more abundant resources, the historical North Sichuan Road is now striding along the path of International, Fashionable, Intelligent and Low-carbon growth in an attempt to scale new heights in modern commercial development.
North Sichuan Road is becoming an import hub and favorite destination for foreign enterprises, concentrated around the country-specific trade centers. Given its strategic location, and with the support of advanced IT, it is on the way to becoming the showcase for goods from around the world, tempting consumers with original packaging, and offering global shopping from the comfort of their own home. The street has also launched a number of activities promoting foreign culture and encouraging existing and future plans for commercial constructions, such as themed shopping malls to optimize use of business space. The arrival of several major global corporations, such as PepsiCo Investment (China), is also adding considerably to the quality of the street’s development.
North Sichuan Road aims at attracting style-conscious young consumers by introducing global fashion brands such as H&M, ZARA, GAP, and UNIQLO, and popular Chinese catering brands like Green Tea, Citygarden Rest, and Chiuchow Garden Rest, which chose this street to open their first Shanghai outlets. Since the strategy of optimizing business space to foster a local experience economy was implemented, retail sales as a share of total revenue for the street fell from 65% in 2005 to 52%, while catering and entertainment sales in the same period have increased from 14% to 34%.
Based on the Internet of Things, Cloud Computing and other new forms of information technology, an information network with better and broader connectivity is being constructed to harness the full potential of the street’s resources, environment, infrastructure and business. Broadband and Wi-Fi have been improved to ensure the successful launch of the local e-commerce platform, and a new app for shopping has been developed for smart mobile devices covering the area. Business integration and interaction are being further optimized in the North Sichuan Road neighborhood to serve as a model for e-commerce in China.
The Garden Lane, adjoining the north section of the road, is well known as the base for low-carbon industrial development in Shanghai. It is home to over 20 energy-conservation and environmental-protection institutions, such as the Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange, and Shanghai Energy Efficiency Centre, which handle energy-conservation certification, information release, standard research, checking and testing. These bodies also provide viability studies, market surveys and other professional services for the industry. The concentration of low-carbon oriented industrial services in the Garden Lane provides an ideal environment for fostering energy-conservation in North Sichuan Road, encouraging businesses to engage in energy-conserving management and increase their offering of low-carbon certified products. North Sichuan Road is therefore well on the way to becoming an example in green trade, integrating general well-being, nature and culture. People coming to North Sichuan Road should be able to experience “slow” city shopping – consuming whilst enjoying the natural local environment and culture.
Integrated Business, Tourist and Cultural development – Trade events and business festivals benefiting greatly from the rich local cultural environment.
The Shanghai Wine Festival, the North Sichuan Road Happy Festival, and the Hongkou Food Festival have all been successful, and contributed to the ambience and popularity of North Sichuan Road.The Shanghai International Wine Products Trading Center is a focal point of Shanghai’s comprehensive pilot program for a modern service industry. Covering 12,000 m2, it is home to a number of key wine industry related entities, institutions, associations and enterprises, including the Shanghai Wine Products Quality Inspection Center, the Shanghai Information Center for Traceability of Wine Products, the Shanghai International Wine Exchange, and the Sommelier Association of China. This special precinct aims to promote the wine industry through the establishment of eight public service platforms, namely, the industry trading service, traceability, warehousing and logistics, exhibition and promotion, R&D for new products and derivatives, quality testing and evaluation, professional training, and information exchange and dissemination.
Promotional initiatives organized over the New Year, the Spring Festival, the May Day, the National Day and other holidays have led to double-digit growth in sales volume for the street.The Memorial Site of the 4th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which is a landmark site retracing the history of the CPC, was recently opened to the public. This memorial is testimony to integration of historical, humanistic and tourist resources, alongside industrial economic development.