Online new economy transforming former industrial cradle

Yang Jian
Construction has officially started on six key projects in Yangpu to help revitalize the economy and improve peoples lives amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yang Jian

Editor's Notes:

Shanghai, a well-established destination for investment from home and abroad, is confident to ride the waves of a rising city to attract more quality investment with better policies and services.

Online new economy transforming former industrial cradle

Shot by Dong Jun. Edited by Sun Chao. Subtitles by Sun Chao and Yang Jian.

A futuristic office park of the Gen-Z dominated video platform Bilibili is rising from the riverside of Shanghai's Yangpu District, known as the birthplace of China's modern industry.

The erciyuan, or a two-dimensional culture, a term used to refer to anime, manga and games is set to sprout on the Huangpu River waterfront in the area that gave birth to the nation's first modern water, electricity, shipbuilding and textile companies.

Construction was officially launched on the New Generation Park of Bilibili Inc on Wednesday, along with five other key projects in Yangpu, covering education, senior care, greenery and infrastructure, with a total investment of over 20 billion yuan (US$3 billion).

The projects are expected to help revitalize the economy and livelihoods amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while turning the Yangpu Binjiang, or waterfront, into an ecological park for the online new economy.

Apart from Bilibili, a score of the nation's leading Internet firms, such as, ByteDance and Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok), have chosen the waterfront area, stretching for 15.5 kilometers, for their key projects.

"From 'rust belt' to 'life show belt,' the upgrading of Yangpu Binjiang is giving new life to industrial relics and full play to the People's City philosophy," said Xu Jianhua, deputy director of Yangpu.

Online new economy transforming former industrial cradle
Dong Jun / SHINE

Xie Jiangang, the Party chief of Yangpu, announces the official opening of key construction projects.

The Bilibili New Generation Park will cover 785,000 square meters, equivalent to the size of three Jinmao Towers in the Lujiazui financial hub – and more than half of that will be underground.

It will feature a skyscraper to house the NASDAQ-listed firm's headquarters, fancy office buildings, commercial facilities, rental houses and a theater renovated from some industrial heritage buildings on the riverside.

The boom in the online economy after the COVID-19 outbreak has brought more opportunities for tech firms and new online businesses in online entertainment, e-commerce, online education and contactless delivery.

The total net revenues of Bilibili, for instance, reached US$797.3 million for the first quarter this year, a 30 percent increase from the same period in 2021, according to its Q1 financial report.

Yangpu aims to attract over 30 leading online new economy firms and 3,000 innovative tech companies along with 200 top professionals and 200,000 employees to the waterfront by 2025, according to the district government.

To better serve the key projects and companies amid the pandemic, the district has initiated the "chief service staff" mechanism, said Gao Jian, deputy director of Yangpu District Construction Industry Management Affairs Center.

The service specialists will coordinate government departments to jointly solve difficulties for the companies, he said.

Online new economy transforming former industrial cradle
Dong Jun / SHINE

Construction workers start working on the future office park of Bilibili Inc.

For the Bilibili project, Gao led the service staff to host a daily video conference with the company and government officials during the city's COVID-19 lockdown to confirm the planning program sooner.

With the support of other city-level departments, the construction plan was approved within a day and the construction license was issued immediately after approval.

Gao said it would be the fastest construction evaluation and approval of his more than a decade at the district's construction management commission.

To catch up with the schedule delayed by the lockdown, the district authority approved the foundation excavation along with the assembly of pile drivers, which is expected to shorten the schedule by over two months, Gao said.

Online new economy transforming former industrial cradle
Ti Gong

An artist's rendition of the New Generation Park of Bilibili Inc.

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