China achieves progress in building international consumption centers

By Li Jie

Progress has been made by Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Chongqing, one year after the five leading cities were approved to develop international consumption centers cities.
On Aug. 8, Aveda, a high-level manufacturer of hair care products owned by Estée Lauder Companies, opened its first store on the Chinese mainland at the Taikoo Li Qiantan, a mega shopping mall in Shanghai.
On the same day, a batch of internationally renowned brands launched Shanghai their first retailing outlets in China, including the multinational stationery manufacturing company KOKUYO and Australian skincare brand Aesop. Playmobil, one of the world’s top ten toy brands from Germany, also opened its world’s first experience center in the city.
Shanghai has been a leading city attracting brands to open their first stores in China. Over 130 “first stores” have opened in the megacity since July this year, and there are more to come. In the first half of this year, 366 “first stores” were established in Shanghai, up 14 percent from the same period in 2020.
Following Shanghai, the other four cities planning to build international consumption hubs are also encouraging both domestic and international brands to debut their products and open their “first stores.”
In the first half of this year, Beijing saw the opening of 393 “first stores,” flagship stores and concept stores. So far, over 2,000 “first stores” have opened in the Chinese capital.
According to statistics released by Data Quest China, a big data application service provider for commercial real estate, Guangzhou has become a desirable test field for new brands and new business forms thanks to the city’s policy support and sound business environment.
Chongqing has been witnessing the emergence of a batch of young brands, and urban commerce in Tianjin, an important consumption hub in north China, is also upgrading.
These cities have shown their own features in building international consumption centers, which play an important role in releasing consumption potential and promoting high-quality urban economic development.
On Aug. 5, a nightlife festival kicked off at the Chongqing Grand Theater, Chongqing, which staged over 200 click-and-mortar nighttime commercial, tourist, cultural and sports activities.
Over recent years, the municipality in southwest China known for its hilly landscape, rivers and bridges, has made its local features and splendid night views a major highlight of its nightlife. The nighttime economy now serves as a new engine driving the municipality’s construction of an international consumption center.
In the next three years, Shanghai is planning to nurture around 100 “15-minute community life circles,” which are multipurpose areas that house a number of consumption scenarios such as cafeterias, health centers and lounge areas.
Beijing, in an effort to cultivate diverse consumption models, is currently building intelligent commercial areas and high-level demonstration zones of autopilot, to drive innovative consumption with information technology.
In the past year, the building of international consumption centers has significantly boosted market confidence and improved consumption vitality for the five cities.
In 2021, total retail sales of consumer goods exceeded 1.8 trillion yuan ($262.31 billion) in Shanghai, up 13.5 percent year on year and ranking first in China. In Beijing, total consumption, service consumption and total retail sales of consumer goods increased 11 percent, 13.4 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively, and 22 traditional commercial areas have been upgraded.
Guangzhou’s total retail sales of consumer goods and foreign trade both exceeded one trillion yuan, marking the southern Chinese city the third one in China to reach the milestone, after Beijing and Shanghai. Besides, Chongqing’s total retail sales of consumer goods surged 18.5 percent from a year ago.
As the five cities are making intensive efforts to build international consumption centers, they are attracting new commercial bodies and international brands, and a number of international and diverse consumption scenarios are underway.
Guangzhou has proposed to build a series of global trade hubs and international consumption portals that serve the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. In Tianjin, a number of commercial landmarks and high-end consumption centers are under construction, including the Modern International Finance Center and outlet stores.
In the future, the five cities will enjoy infinite potential in building international consumption centers by gathering global consumption resources, leading trends, and influencing surrounding regions.


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