Hongkou's key role in realizing Shanghai's global city

Aspirational Hongkou District has ambitions to establish itself as a leading "demonstration district" promoting high-quality development and life by 2035.
Hongkou's key role in realizing Shanghai's global city
Ti Gong

Hongkou District opens its riverside areas to the public on July 1, 2017 as part of the city government’s plan to open continuous paths on both sides of Huangpu River. Residents are now able to walk or cycle from Waibaidu Bridge to Qinhuangdao Road along the river through new paths that serve walkers, joggers and cyclists. The paths lie in an area that served the city’s earliest cargo and passenger harbors.

ASPIRATIONAL Hongkou District has ambitions to establish itself as a leading “demonstration district” promoting high-quality development and life by 2035.

The northeast downtown region plans to become a top-ranking district to fall into line with China’s state power and international standing, as well as play a key role in realizing Shanghai’s ambition to become an “excellent global city.”

Hongkou has released a forward-thinking guideline on how to elevate its capability level and core competitiveness to accelerate building up the district’s advantages and better serve the development strategies of the city and the country.

Wu Xinbao, the Party secretary of Hongkou, told the 7th plenary meeting of the 10th CPC Hongkou committee that Hongkou must match the development of the world’s top urban core areas with a “higher standard and wider horizon.”

“Hongkou has its advantages on culture and location, as well as providing good foundations to support Shanghai’s development into an international economic, finance, trade, shipping and scientific innovation center,” Wu said.

The district has taken big strides after decades of development. It has created three major functional zones, covering shipping, commerce and innovation. This includes a finance and shipping industry zone at the North Bund area in the south of the district, a tourism and commercial zone in the center and a scientific innovation zone in the north.

Hongkou has established new advantages in economic power, international shipping, finance, scientific innovation and culture, along with new developments on opening up, brand construction, business environment, intelligent city, talent gathering, delicate urban management as well as residents’ quality of life.

Since China’s reform and opening up, Hongkou has focused on modern service sectors such as shipping and finance. It has become an important supportive region for Shanghai’s key urban functions. However, Hongkou is still lagging behind some of the leading downtown regions both at home and abroad, especially in economic power, innovation and development capabilities, urban life quality and cultural soft power.

Wu plans to take advantage of Shanghai’s development into an “excellent global city” and expand its advantages and catch up.

Hongkou's key role in realizing Shanghai's global city
Ti Gong

Luxun Park features a high coverage rate of trees and a beautiful lake. Behind it is Hongkou Football Stadium.

High-end services

The North Bund’s cruise liner industry era began in October 2003 with the arrival of the Royal Caribbean International, the city’s first global cruise liner. It was once again under the spotlight in July on the Maritime Day of China.

More than 30 artifacts, as well as a number of pictures and video clips, reflecting the achievements of Shanghai’s maritime industry, are on display at White Magnolia Plaza at the North Bund, the tallest building in Puxi. Many of the pictures are on view for the first time.

Thirty-six of the world’s major shipping institutions, such as China Shipowners’ Association, China Ports Association and Shanghai International Shipping Institute, are based at the North Bund. Over 4,000 shipping service companies, including Switzerland’s Mediterranean Shipping Company, Singapore-based Pacific International Lines and Hapag Lloyd from Germany, have also set up subsidiary bases on the North Bund.

One of the North Bund’s development milestones is the establishment of the Shanghai Shipping Freight Exchange, China’s first shipping freight third-party centralized trading platform, in 2009. The exchange publishes China’s first dry bulk and oil tanker indexes, based on prices collected from charters, brokers and ship owners. The new indexes have improved China’s say in global shipping markets and are seen as a challenge to the Baltic Dry Index. The longtime benchmark for global shippers is compiled by the Baltic Exchange Ltd.

The North Bund will continue developing high-end shipping services and building a “shipping service headquarters’ base,” and become a core brand for the city’s shipping services.

Its modern shipping service system will be optimized on the Huangpu River waterfront at the North Bund, as well as the Huoshan and Miyun roads. Four centers on international shipping exchange, talent services, financial services and startup services will be created in the region.

Hongkou will also keep driving the development of the high-end cruise liner industry and whole industrial chains. The North Bund will not only feature cruise liners, but also yachts and sightseeing cruises. The Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal will mainly focus on high-end cruise ships beneath 70,000 tons to be differentiated from Baoshan’s Wusongkou International Cruise liner Terminal at the Mouth of the Yangtze River.

Hongkou's key role in realizing Shanghai's global city
Ti Gong

Shows and exhibitions are availed at “Red Cultural Sites of Shanghai” to promote “Red Culture.”

Wealth Management

Hongkou has lured one 10th of China’s mutual funds by tapping into its regional advantages and offering favorable policies to support the development of its financial services.

The district is home to 1,405 financial institutions, which manage over 4 trillion yuan (US$586.7 billion) of assets.

Hongkou has launched the North Bund Financial Hub to facilitate the development of fund companies within the district. A financial “golden triangle” has formed between the North Bund financial zone, Lujiazui at Pudong New Area, and the Bund.

The next step for Hongkou is to enhance its standards in global financial assets’ management and wealth management services, and further attract financial headquarters, assets’ management institutes and quality financial service companies.

The district will also attract famous international hedge fund, venture investment, private bank and other high-end private fund management institutes. It will build a Shanghai hedge fund park and expand the influence of its annual North Bund Wealth and Culture Forum and North Bund Wealth Management Summit.

The district will also encourage an integrated development of finance and scientific innovation, culture, as well as other key industries, to create service platforms for scientific finance and attract all kinds of financial institutes and industrial funds to offer high-efficient services for scientific companies.

Small and medium-size enterprises will be encouraged to enter the capital market and Hongkou will help them solve difficulties on fund-raising. It will enhance risk prevention and drive the healthy development of regional finance industries, to play an active role during Shanghai’s construction of the financial scientific innovation center.

Hongkou's key role in realizing Shanghai's global city
Ti Gong

Shows and exhibitions are availed at “Red Cultural Sites of Shanghai” to promote “Red Culture.”

Innovation network

Hongkou District government and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Holdings Co. (CASH) jointly launched the CASH International Innovation Industrial Base at the North Bund on July 18.

The comprehensive scientific innovation incubation platform will create an ecological network for innovation and entrepreneurship with the influence covering the Yangtze Delta Region. The base aims to gather scientific innovation resources, create scientific innovation service advantages and promote the commercialization of scientific achievements.

The CASH base becomes a new milestone for Hongkou’s scientific innovation development. The district plans to create an “international innovation harbor” featuring cross-border technology transformation and become an important junction for international innovation and a bridgehead for international technology transferring and achievement transformation.

The district has also planned a green technology bank to gather famous service sectors from both home and abroad on scientific achievement transformation and headquarters of green industries.

Another highlight project is the Sino-Israel International Innovation Harbor which will work with the other Sino-Israel innovative parks across the Yangtze River Delta region and promote the cooperation between the two countries.

Hongkou will enhance cooperation with world’s famous technology transformation platform and incubators to attract third-party scientific service institutes. A BMW innovation center and Sino-Belgium incubator has been planned.

The district will help improve the existing innovative parks to become more professional and international, while attracting famous foreign incubators to set up subsidiaries in Hongkou.

Hongkou's key role in realizing Shanghai's global city
Ti Gong

Darroch Road, known as Duolun Road now, which during the 1920s and 1930s was a community of famous writers and artists such as Lu Xun, Ding Ling (1904-1986) and Mao Dun (1896-1981).

Improved quality of life

The football stadium in Hongkou, the first professional venue of its kind in China, will undergo renovation to become a “football and sporting landmark,” along with redevelopment of a nearby commercial street.

It is part of the district government’s efforts to revitalize the old residential district and improve the living environment for its 800,000 residents.

The Hongkou Football Stadium, built in 1999, will be developed into a “top sports arena” as well as a sports-related shopping and recreation center. The district government has begun soliciting design ideas from global architects for the landmark stadium’s construction.

The 35,000 seater stadium is the home ground of Shanghai Greenland Shenhua Football Club. Its field and facilities will be upgraded to attract more football and sporting events, such as US-based Major League Baseball.

Meanwhile, commercial sites around the stadium, including the CapitaLand Hongkou Plaza and the Sichuan Road N. commercial street, will be redeveloped to revive the former glory of this north-downtown shopping hub.

The district aims to develop an intelligent, high-efficient, cooperative and innovative community. The government will accelerate creating an “intelligent government,” featuring sharing resources and cloud technology for citizens and companies’ services as well as electronic government affairs.

The government will also continue its revamping campaign on old residential communities to improve the residents’ living environment while preserving the historical structures of the building.

Hongkou's key role in realizing Shanghai's global city
Ti Gong

The Shanyin Road historical ambiance protection area which features the city's unique shikumen, or stone-gate communities as well as former residences of many cultural celebrities.

Heritage and promotion hub

A literature museum is planned in Hongkou along with several renovated or expanded sites.

The Shanghai Literature Museum, a joint effort of the Hongkou government and Shanghai Writers’ Association, will take up an area of 12,500 square meters on Sichuan Road N. The museum will collect, research and promote haipai literature and modern literature works, created in the city.

The district has released a three-year action plan to become a “heritage and promotion hub” by 2021 for haipai, or Shanghai-style culture that combines traditional Chinese with Western lifestyles.

Part of the three-year plan involves expanding the Shanghai Jewish Refugees’ Museum and building new museums, art galleries, exhibition halls and bookstores. Most of them will be based at the North Bund area, or at the Huangpu River waterfront.

Historic venues, mainly along Sichuan Road N., will be renovated to showcase China’s revolutionary and cultural history of the 1930s.

The area near the commercial road has 57 historic sites over 2 square kilometers. They include the Memorial Site of the 4th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the League of Leftist Writers Museum, and homes of renowned writers and intellectuals from the last century.

A series of cultural performances, including stage shows and dances on the “Red Culture” of Shanghai — the birthplace of the Communist Party of China — will be held in schools in Hongkou. A research board will be established to study and promote “Red Culture.”

Furthermore, six walking routes will be created for tourists and residents to visit former residences of celebrities in Hongkou. More such historic sites will be preserved and opened to the public within three years.

The city’s historic Astor House Hotel near the Bund is being developed into an exhibition and education site highlighting China’s capital market. Many outdoor museums will be created along the riverside to display the nation’s early shipping industry.

The city’s earliest cinema houses — the Shengli (victory), Qunzhong (public) and Jiefang (liberation) — will be revamped and become part of a cluster of theaters and cultural venues along the Suzhou Creek.

To highlight the legacy of Lu Xun, the “father of modern Chinese literature,” and renowned Chinese writer Mao Dun, the district will name two paths after the men of letters who once lived in Hongkou along with many commemorative and cultural activities.

Special Reports