Shanghai's Yangpu makes pitch to British investors

作者:Xing Yi in London来源

Mayor of Yangpu District Zhou Haiying speaks at a promotion conference in London on June 18, 2024. [Xing Yi / China Daily]

Boasting the home of leading unicorns in the fast-growing digital industry, such as Xiaohongshu and Bilibili, Shanghai's Yangpu district is hoping to attract innovative companies from the United Kingdom, the mayor of the district told an audience in London on Tuesday.

Speaking at a promotional conference held at China Exchange, Zhou Haiying, mayor of Yangpu district, said: "Yangpu had a long history of business cooperation with British companies back in the 19th century and later became the cradle of New China's domestic industry, and now we come abroad to showcase our transformation and invite British companies to come to develop in Yangpu."

A view of the riverside of Yangpu district of Shanghai in 2019. [Xing Yi / China Daily]

Located in the northeastern part of Shanghai, Yangpu has a rich industrial heritage, such as old factories and warehouses on the 15.5-kilometer riverfront along the city's Huangpu River.

In 1883, a British company opened Yangshupu Waterworks on the riverfront, which became the first water supply plant in China and was, at the time, the largest of its kind in East Asia. Later, various factories were built in the area.

Though the water plant is still in use after several rounds of upgrades, many of the factories have been deserted, and in recent years the district has tried to transform its industrial legacy into workplaces and parks.

Bao Ling, minister of China's embassy in the UK, speaks at the Yangpu promotion conference in London on June 18, 2024. [Xing Yi / China Daily]

The urban renovation included three of China's major unicorn companies building their headquarters in the riverside area.

The office buildings for Douyin, a short video platform with more than 600 million daily active users, Meituan, the country's largest provider of on-demand food and retail delivery service, and Bilibili, China's equivalent of YouTube, are expected to be completed by 2026.

In addition, some 7,000 companies in the digital economy sector and more than 3,600 companies in the creative and design industry have already set foot in Yangpu, according to Zhou.

A resident runs on the jogging path along the Huangpu River in Yangpu district, Shanghai in 2021. [Xing Yi / China Daily]

One of the reasons for companies choosing Yangpu is the district's high-caliber human resources – it is home to 10 universities where 180,000 college students graduate every year.

"The fresh graduates have injected vitality and dynamics in the district and provide companies with continuous momentum of development," said Zhou, adding that those higher education institutes provide cutting-edge research for local companies in areas such as artificial intelligence, green technologies, and biopharma.

Bao Ling, minister of China's embassy in the UK, and Daniel Brennan, a member of the House of Lords legislative chamber, attended the event along with dozens of business representatives from both China and the UK.

Daniel Brennan (center), a member of the House of Lords, the second chamber of UK Parliament, and Mayor of Yangpu District Zhou Haiying (left) witness the signing of an agreement between Yangpu Riverside Group and Fuchan Group in London. [Xing Yi / China Daily]