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Shanghai works to upgrade consumption

China Daily Updated:2021-08-27

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The East Nanjing Road Walkway is one of the landmark shopping areas in Shanghai. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

Ambitious targets set for retail sales by 2025

The government of Shanghai plans to build the city into an international hub for shopping and consumption by 2025, aiming to benefit domestic and foreign businesses alike.

In the city government's latest blueprint, it plans to increase annual retail consumption to 1.8 trillion yuan ($277.3 billion) by 2023.

In addition to building up 160 influential local brands, the Shanghai government aims to attract another 2,400 brands from across the world to open stores in the city, according to the three-year action plan released earlier this month.

The plan is a response to the central government's decision to accelerate consumption upgrading, develop domestic markets and enhance the role of consumption in economic growth.

On July 19, the State Council, China's Cabinet, announced the construction of "international consumption center cities", with five cities-Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing and Guangzhou in Guangdong province-included.

"Consumption is the most basic, stable and lasting driving force for economic growth. Developing commerce, boosting consumption and building an international consumption center city are of great significance to Shanghai," Shanghai's Party Secretary Li Qiang said at a meeting on consumption city construction on July 31.

Li said building a "consumption city" is an inevitable requirement for practicing the country's dual-circulation development pattern.

In the first half of this year, Shanghai topped the country's consumption list with total retail consumption reaching 904.84 billion yuan, an increase of 30.3 percent year-on-year. The increase was 7.3 percent higher than the country's average, according to the city's statistics bureau.

The city government is striving to achieve the goal of becoming an international consumption center city by 2025.

To achieve this, a slew of tasks have been put forward, such as innovating models of consumption, optimizing the consumption environment, attracting more brands and improving consumer satisfaction.

Encouraged by the city government's resolution and the strong rebound of the domestic economy after the successful containment of the COVID-19 outbreak, foreign businesses in Shanghai have expressed confidence in the market.

French sports retailer Decathlon said the company will create new experiences for consumers as consumption has become the primary driver of the country's economic growth.

"There are many great companies in the world in the consumer goods industry. I see many of them in Shanghai. It is a great time for us to work together, to tap into the favorable opportunities under China's dual-circulation development pattern," said Pascal Bizard, senior vice-president of Decathlon China.

Decathlon started operating in China in 1989 and moved its regional headquarters to Shanghai in 2003.

The brand has stores in more than 400 cities and four factories in China. Its business in China has expanded to the whole industrial chain for design, production, logistics and retail.

China has become the fastest growing market for Decathlon globally, and the company will continue to increase investment in Shanghai, according to Bizard.

Bizard said Shanghai is the best place for Decathlon to test new products and innovate in the sports industry.

The company is building its largest global innovation center in the Lujiazui area of Shanghai, which is based on its latest retail business model.

"Consumers in Shanghai are showing much more sophisticated and varied demands compared to other cities," Bizard said.

"It is our challenge to learn how to create multiple unique retail experiences, products and consumption scenarios with Shanghai consumers. It is important for us to satisfy consumers in Shanghai," he said.

"If we succeed here, we will succeed in China, in other parts of the world. I think that's why global leading companies open new concept stores here."

The outbreak of COVID-19 has drawn greater attention to healthier lifestyles and public expenditure on sports and relevant goods is on the rise.

Earlier this month, the country unveiled a new five-year plan to encourage public participation in physical exercise. Industry experts said the blueprint is of great significance, and is expected to chart a new course for sports development across the country. It will also create more business opportunities and unlock more market potential in sports and relevant industries.

Bizard said sports will be one of the fastest-growing industries in China over the next five years.

"We believe China is not only a retail market for Decathlon but also it is the place for us to develop world-leading smart retail solutions through innovation."

According to Decathlon, it releases more than 3,000 new products of more than 20 brands each year, covering a wide range of fields, such as water sports, cycling, tennis, table tennis and golf.

Bizard said the company will develop more products to meet the needs of the Chinese market.

A total of 60 foreign investment projects worth over $5.85 billion, the second batch this year, were recently signed with the Shanghai government, further reinforcing the city's leading position for global investment.

Examples include Porsche, a German sports car manufacturer, settled in Shanghai in June.

Austrian fashion brand Swarovski will unveil its first global flagship store in Shanghai after its brand upgrading in November.

French theme park Puy du Fou is building the world's largest immersive performance theater in the city's Xuhui district, with an investment of 500 million yuan. The theater will cover more than 46,000 square meters and is expected to open in June 2022.

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