Business confidence rebounds in Jing'an as recovery gathers pace

Li Qian
New investment is pouring into district and work is restarting on major projects in the aftermath of the city's stringent pandemic lockdown.
Li Qian

Jing'an sits at the heart of Shanghai. It represents the essence of the history and culture of the city, home to century-old buildings, big-name attractions, glitzy retail malls and charming art galleries. Annual music and art events give the district a distinctive ambience. In this series, we showcase the highlights of Jing'an.

Business confidence rebounds in Jing'an as recovery gathers pace
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Nanjing Road W. commercial zone in Jing'an District.

June Keywords: Recovery gathers pace

Business confidence has rebounded in Jing'an with new investment pouring in and major projects restarting construction after the city's stringent pandemic lockdown ended.

Shanghai officials awarded certificates mid-month to 30 regional headquarters and 10 R&D centers operated by multinational corporations, four of which are in Jing'an.

They are the regional headquarters of global fashion giant Kering, Italy's luxury cashmere maker Loro Piana and US professional service provider UL, as well as the e-commerce R&D center of Alibaba-backed Baozun, the world's largest e-commerce operation service provider.

"We are always confident about Jing'an's business environment," Baozun said.

Jing'an is now home to 106 regional headquarters of multinational companies, 33 of which are at least Chinese headquarters. While many see Jing'an as their entry point to the domestic market, Baozun got off the ground from Jing'an.

Known as China's Shopify, Baozun helps renowned brands to develop their online business. Starting in Jing'an in 2007, it has grown to become an industry leader with a business network stretching to the US, Europe and east Asia. In 2015, it went public on the Nasdaq, and in 2020 it took a secondary listing in Hong Kong.

Despite the lockdown, its share price on Nasdaq has increased by 25.48 percent, according to the latest quarterly financial report.

Cosmetics giant L'Oréal also sees steady progress in the domestic market.

Its pre-sales for the mid-year "618" shopping festival this month have quickly exceeded 100 million yuan (US$14.9 billion). Also, when the massive lockdowns were still on in May, it established its first investment company in China, another milestone in making China its No. 1 market after it elevated its Shanghai office to be North Asia Headquarters last year.

The Shanghai Meicifang Investment Co, supported by L'Oréal's innovative venture capital fund BOLD (Business Opportunities for L'Oréal Development) will accelerate the cosmetics industry's scientific innovation and contribute to the development of Shanghai's and China's cosmetics sectors, according to the newly founded firm.

"It's a very important strategic layout that will act as a platform for deeper industrial cooperation, innovation, investment and progress," said L'Oreal China CEO Fabrice Megarbane.

"From the other side, it also validates the increasing improvement of Shanghai's business environment. Shanghai plays an important role in L'Oreal's global network, and our confidence towards Shanghai is solid."

Dairy giant Fonterra is also positive about business in the domestic market as it plans to expand in China.

Since it established a local office in Jing'an in 2005, the company's local business has galloped ahead.

China is now one of its largest and most important strategic markets, taking nearly one third of the products Fonterra exports. Notably, its Chinese market has continued to boom, reporting business worth NZ$5.06 billion (US$3.2 billion), with a year-on-year increase of 8 percent in the first three quarters of fiscal 2022.

Business confidence rebounds in Jing'an as recovery gathers pace
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

HKRI Taikoo Hui

Fonterra China CEO Chow Teh-han attributes the growth to China's strong resilience in the battle against the pandemic.

"Significantly, in the post-pandemic era, we see Chinese consumers' increasing emphasis on health, boosting the demand for high-quality dairy products," he said, noting that the company will invest more in China.

"We believe Shanghai will recapture its business vitality, and we gratefully acknowledge the efforts of the city government which has launched a set of favorable policies to help companies out of the pandemic impacts," Chow said.

Early this month, Jing'an released a set of policies and measures to revitalize economic development, including steps to boost the confidence of foreign-funded enterprises.

Quickly answering the call, Shibei High Technology Park, the district's major innovation engine room, has decided to grant local tenants rental relief worth up to 100 million yuan. It has also contacted financial institutions to offer loans to help small-and-medium enterprises through the current difficult time.

Considered a magnet to businesses, the park witnessed 20 investment projects signed online during the pandemic. Recently four companies, each with tax revenues over tens of millions of yuan, registered at the park, including China's high-end car rental company Marple Leaf Car Rental and a local branch of state-run China Electric Equipment Group Co.

Well on track to a full recovery, major business and commercial buildings in Jing'an had reopened by June 13, with a resumption rate of 100 percent. Also, construction has restarted on major projects, such as the well-anticipated Zhangyuan project.

Sandwiched between Weihai Road and Nanjing Road W., Zhangyuan is one of the city's best-preserved historical communities. Relocation and renovation started in 2018 to make way for urban renewal. Now, a new commercial complex, where dozens of historical buildings will be adapted to new use, is taking shape. Phase 1 of the project is planned to open this year.

Others include Suhe Bay Center, a 330,000 square meter urban complex along Suzhou Creek, and a 199,000 square meter urban renewal project in Jiangning Road Subdistrict.

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