Home > Latest

Five-Year Plan fuels consumer goods in Shanghai

China Daily Updated: 2021-11-05

CEO of leading property operation company BLAH says urban renewal key for reaching younger generations

Shanghai has stepped up efforts to fuel its consumer goods sector and revitalize the value of historic heritage, making the city a cultural and shopping hub more relevant to the modern dynamic world. Local businesses, with ethos in harmony with the city, have been embracing and benefiting from the opportunities and also made a solid contribution to the city's growth.

According to Shanghai's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) unveiled earlier this year, the city aims to develop a modern and high-end consumer goods sector appealing to new consumption trends and demands. The sector will be home to quality brands and emerging names from both home and abroad in fashion, food, cosmetics, household products and consumer electronics. By driving innovation, building an integrated industrial chain, and merging the online and offline channels, Shanghai will create a vibrant business environment and further spur consumption.

To reach the goal, the city will roll out an action plan within the year to drive the growth of the sector in the next three years. Shanghai will stand as the hub for high-quality consumer products design, manufacturing, promotion and consumption.

The importance of historic heritage in the city has also been reinforced in the five-year plan. Shanghai has an array of historic buildings and facilities across the city, especially in the central area. These buildings are significant for their historic value and excite a collective memory for residents.

The five-year plan proposes to add new value to the heritage. Historic buildings in the central area will be built into culture and art icons surrounded by communities where people can work, shop, relax and socialize. Business and retails will be integrated to create a better public space, making the city a more vibrant place to live.

"Historic buildings spark memories of a city and its people. It should be revitalized with new functions and operations that can make greater value for the public," said Cheng Dali, CEO of Shanghai Bailian Asset Holding Co. BLAH is a leading player in property operation and urban renewal in Shanghai.

A subsidiary of Bailian Group, BLAH has pivoted to urban renewal projects in recent years. Cheng led a team at BLAH to undergo the entire process that creates a revitalized historic building with modern functions. Echoing the city's initiative and efforts to resonate with the modern world and young power of consumption, Cheng said that urban renewal can bring out the full value and vibrancy of a historic building.

"A historic building is just a piece of history if it didn't connect with its audience, the young people. It should be integrated into the modern world. That's what makes it modern," said Cheng.

In urban renewal, BLAH has two signature lines, the BAIwork and BAImunity. With BAIwork, the company renewed nine century-old historic buildings in Shanghai and made them high-end work and exhibition spaces. BAImunity presents a commercial and living complex rebuilt from a cold chain warehouse.

Meanwhile dealing with ancient architecture, BLAH has also set its eyes on the changing market for inspiration and direction. According to Cheng, the BLAH team sees the soaring demand for fashion, arts and design in the young consumers in Shanghai.

"We positioned our renewal projects as the platform for high-end fashion and arts after a lot of research and study. It also fits best with the location and surrounding vibe of the building."

Cheng noted that most of the BAIwork projects are located in the city's central business area, which of a great appeal to businesses. The cultural and historic value of these buildings will make good stories to attract consumers to find out more.

Venues of the BAIwork have attracted a wide range of businesses in fashion and arts. There are galleries, fashion and design brands, and marketing agencies for fashion and arts, as well as an art foundation. An ecology or industrial chain of the fashion and arts sector has been shaping up. Cheng said that it's part of BLAH's efforts to fuel the sustainable growth of the industry.

"We hope it will be a creative cluster. We don't just rent the space," said Cheng.

Big names on the global fashion and arts scene do see the value of BLAH projects. In March, Dior staged a special spring VIP exhibition, Villa Dior, at BAIwork on the 133 Middle Sichuan Road. Cartier has just wound up its new exhibition, Sixieme Sens par Cartier, at BAIwork on Oct 28. The venue also hosted an art festival in August presenting prominent contemporary artworks.

Companies like BLAH contribute to creating a larger appeal and better business environment for Shanghai. What these companies are striving for and thriving on might be the embodiment of the ethos of Shanghai. Aiming to be a pioneer and a bellwether, it is always innovating to stay relevant and modern.

"Innovation changes the city and operation reconstruction changes the value of assets," said Cheng.