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Shanghai's Huangpu Plans Ambitious Revamp

Central Huangpu District, home to some of Shanghai's crown jewels, including the Bund, Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall, People's Square and Yuyuan Garden, is surging ahead with plans to evolve into a four-in-one entity: a central business district, a shopping mecca, a tourism site as well as a modern residential area.

In line with the local government's strategy of building the city into an international economic, financial, trade and shipping center, the district has identified five pillar industries -- commerce, services, real estate, tourism and entertainment -- as crucial to its ambitions.

Officials said that toward this end, efforts will be made to revamp construction in the district's main attractions, including the Bund and People's Square, while pulling down old houses and erecting modern buildings in their place.

The picturesque Bund area along the Huangpu River, which boasts classic European-style architectural structures, is an important component of Shanghai's central business district. More than 180 financial institutes and half of the city's accounting and auditing firms are located there.

Bearing this in mind, officials of the district's publicity department revealed that the area has been designated as a financial and trade zone, covering 103 hectares. The district will try to renovate old buildings and construct some modern office buildings with a similar facade. Computerization, lagging in most old structures, will be realized in all the buildings, they added.

Foreign banks, securities companies, insurance firms, regional headquarters of international enterprises and headquarters of leading domestic businesses are expected to settle in the area.

Nanjing Road E., reputed as China's No 1 commercial street, will try to do the same on the world stage. Its eastern part will become a high-end shopping area showcasing luxury brands. The middle section will cater to common people and the western end will host entertainment and leisure facilities, in addition to restaurants.

People's Square, which has been undergoing a metamorphosis over the years, will be accentuated when an underground public transportation exchange center gets ready. People will then have more entertainment avenues, such as exhibitions, films and performances, in the area.

Yuyuan Garden is one of Shanghai's top commercial and tourist areas. It is also the core of the district's old section.

Officials plan to rearrange the commercial structure of the area to make it more attractive to tourists and locals alike.

(eastday.com October 27, 2003)

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