Jing'an District to continue shining on innovation front

Jing'an Party chief An Lusheng is vowing to continue supporting innovation in the district, especially in the retail sector.
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Jing'an Party chief An Lusheng is vowing to continue supporting innovation in the district, especially in the retail sector.

The district is embracing the latest retail trends by transforming its bustling Nanjing Road W. into an equivalent of New York’s Fifth Avenue. 

New emerging business concepts are being introduced to the road during a sweeping commercial makeover, with a personalized perfume store likely to make its debut.

Prestigious French brand Guerlain is exploring the possibility of allowing customers to create their own, one-of-kind perfumes, from selecting ingredients to designing the bottle, at their first Asian boutique store, An Lusheng, Party chief of Jing’an said.

“It’s what we call 'personalized demands,'” he said. “Retailers provide services and make products based on customers’ demands. Such business concepts are worth being duplicated and promoted in Jing’an.”

That's because Jing’an likes to push the envelope and try something new.

Last year, Starbucks’ first roastery in China, whose set-up involves cleaning, blending, roasting, cooling and packaging beans, opened on HKRI Taikoo Hui. 

The ambience of the café is so enticing that even non-drinkers would be tempted to buy coffee drinks or related products there.

“We always encourage business innovation," An added. "Why is the Starbucks’ roastery so appealing? Because it highlights innovation. I go there frequently, and it’s not only to drink coffee, it's to soak up the trendy atmosphere."

The global dining chain Goose Island Brewhouse, as another example of innovative concepts in Jing'an, set up a production line and serves freshly-brewed beer to customers at its first Shanghai store in the shikumen-style Fengshengli commercial complex. 

“But we have to keep our bottom lines,” An added. “We have to ensure food safety and a friendly environment. Only then can we explore innovation.” 

In the case of Guerlain, there are challenges in regulations related to products and fire safety. Authorities are discussing these concerns and preparing to make some breakthrough, just the same as what they’ve done with Starbucks.  

Based on local food standards, the production process had to be totally enclosed. Starbucks, however, had their hearts set on an open space to display the whole coffee-processing procedure for consumers at its roastery store. 

So, the city’s food and drug administration especially considered and then drafted new rules for Shanghai’s coffee roasting manufacturing permit. Customs officials also gave the green light for importing special coffee production equipment. 

According to An, authorities should move with the times to support business innovation. 

“We should reduce the obstacles for new business concepts to be introduced. But we should lay more emphasis on supervision after the new business is set up and we should provide considerate service.”

And it's not only retailers who are welcome to innovate in the district, but also companies that set up offices in Jing’an. They too have access to one-stop service. 

“There are more than 200 business and commercial buildings in Jing’an. We have set up a service center in every building, where officials help people to understand regulations and go through the administrative process,” An said. 

A welcoming business environment and good service has made many retailers want to stay put in Jing’an. 

In the Jing’an section of Nanjing Road W., for example, there are more than 2,000 renowned brands, 60 percent of which are international.

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