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September 16, 2009

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Hongqiao hub as regional gateway

SHANGHAI will exploit its Hongqiao transportation hub as the core of a massive new power center that serves as the city's gateway to the Yangtze River Delta region and beyond.

The new Hongqiao Business Park will be home to bustling trade and finance, fast and modern air, road and rail links and rich social services, local officials said yesterday at a conference that brought together city and provincial government leaders and planners to discuss regional development.

City planners said the greater Hongqiao area will become Shanghai's third "urban circle," after the central business district covering both sides of the Huangpu River and the manufacturing and shipping zones in Pudong's outlying reaches.

The Hongqiao Business Park will encompass the Hongqiao Airport and the nearby transport hub, which will go into operation before the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

Shanghai government has established an administrative commission to pioneer development of the business park, which will cover parts of Minhang District and Changning District, where the airport lies, and also pick up slices of suburban Jiading, Songjiang and Qinqpu districts.

City government officials told the conference yesterday that they are expecting to attract the headquarters of domestic and overseas businesses to the new zone, exploiting its convenient air, road and high-speed rail connections to Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces.

"We expect the area will grow into a high-end innovation business center for the Yangtze Delta Region and that urban development of suburban Qingpu and Songjiang districts can be fostered as well," said Hu Jun, vice director of the Shanghai Urban Planning, Land and Resources Bureau.

The Minhang District government said it will set up high-end medical and commercial services near the hub to attract more multinational companies.

The district will also develop a commercial exhibition and convention complex in the area, the government said.

"People in Jiangsu Province are counting the days for the development zone to take shape," said Wang Youli, deputy secretary general of the Jiangsu Province Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The real estate sector will be a prime beneficiary of the new development.

Improved traffic and infrastructure conditions will attract more home buyers to western Shanghai and therefore raise property prices in neighboring areas, industry experts said yesterday.

"This will create a stimulus for the real estate market around the Hongqiao transport hub," said Huang Hetao, an analyst at Century 21 China Real Estate, operator of Shanghai's second-largest brokerage chain.


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