Ala Town opens doors for trial operations

Once officially open, Ala Town will offer a full range of entertainment, shopping, dining and education options.

Ala Town, a new commercial center, opened recently for a trial run in Minhang District. The center is part of Shanghai’s broader efforts to build up its “four brands”: services, manufacturing, shopping and culture.

Aimed at providing a full range of services including entertainment, shopping and education, the complex is at 66 Xianfeng Street and features a rich assortment of international cuisines, much like the popular nearby Lao Wai Jie, or Foreigner Street.

Like Lao Wai Jie, Ala Town also aims to build itself into a city landmark.

With Shanghai Art Deco-style buildings and a 7.8-meter-high hall on the first floor of its main building, Ala Town is meant to be one of Hongqiao area’s most eye-catching attractions.

Construction of some structures is still under way, but dozens of shops are open for business during the current trial period. The commercial center will officially open in September.

Zhu Zhisong, Party secretary of Minhang, said yesterday that the district is dedicated to the city’s efforts to promote its four brands.

He said the district is developing new commercial landmarks, such as the Hub in Hongqiao and the Mixc on Wuzhong Road. It will renovate some old shopping malls and build up new commercial facilities near large-scale communities, among other plans.

“We will build several business clusters in Hongqiao and Xinzhuang, the two sub-centers of the city,” said Zhu. “We hope Hongqiao will serve not only Shanghai, but also the Yangtze River Delta and the whole nation and become a world-class business district with global influence.”

According to Zhu, Minhang will renovate four parks in Hongqiao and improve its road conditions and transportation services to prepare for the upcoming China International Import Expo.

The district will also build Xinzhuang into a public transportation hub in southwest Shanghai and enhance construction of commercial facilities above the Xinzhuang Metro station.

Meanwhile, Minhang will continue promoting manufacturing as the district was established in the 1950s as a national heavy industrial center, according to Zhu.

Now it is also a center of scientific and technological innovation in south Shanghai as more and more high-tech enterprises have settled down there.

“Focusing on advanced manufacturing, we will develop the industries of high-end equipment, artificial intelligence, new information technology and bio-medicine and try to establish several strategic new industries on the scale of hundreds of billions of yuan,” said Zhu.

Minhang has already set up a medical robot institute with Shanghai Jiao Tong University and is planning to establish an artificial intelligence institute. It will also introduce other universities that excel in AI, such as Harbin Institute of Technology and Northwestern Polytechnical University to the district to develop AI-related research facilities.

Minhang is also proud of its services as it’s a national demonstration center for the protection of intellectual properties and the city’s only model zone for commercializing scientific achievements. It now hosts a copyright registration center and a branch of the city’s intellectual property service center.

Zhu said Minhang is also promoting innovative, international and diversified development in the cultural creative industry, and will focus on creative design, Internet information, media and entertainment, as well as related equipment.

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