Top-notch brands make beeline for Shanghai

More first stores, debut shows from global trademarks are order of the day

By WANG YING in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-16 09:28
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Consumers browse at Supreme's first store in China on Fumin Road in Shanghai on April 1. WANG GANG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Global consumption hub

As the city builds itself into an international consumption hub, a rising number of first stores, debut shows and exhibitions are flocking in, and the roster includes both topnotch global trademarks and local up-and-coming brands, according to the SMCC.

Shanghai has been actively introducing big-name brands and their latest products in recent years, and these efforts will help enhance the city's commercial vitality, creating conditions for attracting more first stores and debuts at various levels, said Liu of the SMCC.

"Shanghai has published the seventh edition of an action plan for creating a first-class business environment, and such a spirit is also applicable to serving global brands," said Liu.

Shanghai has become the first destination for many international brands entering the Chinese market, and 1,215 first stores were opened across the city in 2023, according to official data from the municipal government.

"Apparently, the local government's efforts in supporting consumption and developing Shanghai into a global consumption hub over the past few years have started to take effect," said Jiang.

Shanghai's optimal business environment and complete infrastructure, enriched cityscape and scenic spots, outstanding cultural tourism, diversified and inclusive city-style culture, as well as high-quality customers and abundant business talent, all have contributed to the city's charm for global brands, Jiang added.

"Looking forward, Shanghai, as one of the world's largest port cities, will surely be an important hub for the nation's dual circulation development pattern, in which the domestic economy is the mainstay and the domestic and international economies complement each other," Jiang said.

Specifically, internal circulation is in need of a self-driven domestic industrial chain, and external circulation requires the foundation and capability to embed itself into the global industrial chain. To get there, Shanghai should become the hub, Jiang explained.

Apple Inc's decision to expand in China with new applied research labs is mainly driven by the country's manufacturing, and research and development prowess to make the best products.

Isabel Ge Mahe, vice-president and managing director of Apple Greater China, told China Daily: "We have already invested 1 billion yuan into an applied research lab in China. And with the new expansion plan, our investment will continue growing."

The US tech company is enhancing the capabilities of its Shanghai applied research lab to support the reliability, quality and material analysis of its product lines, she said.

"We chose to have the two labs in China because of the country's manufacturing prowess and local suppliers' strong presence," she said.

Swedish home furnishings giant Ikea is one of several other multinational companies that are thinking of opening stores in Shanghai.

On April 1, the furnishings and housewares brand announced through its official account on Shanghai-based video and photo-sharing app Xiaohongshu that the world's first Ikea boutique store will open in the city soon.

"It is a natural decision for global brands to choose Shanghai as the first destination for entering the Chinese market, especially for consumer brands. For multinational trademarks, Shanghai is the undisputed bridgehead and a landmark city," said Jiang.

Ma Si in Beijing and Liu Kexin in Shanghai contributed to this story.

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