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Riverside development takes leading role
By Pan Zheng

An important strategic section in Shanghai's Huangpu River development plan, Xuhui Binjiang (riverside) area is one of very few urban areas in the plan yet to be developed.

It covers a total area of 7.4 square kilometers, with 8.4-kilometer stretch of the riverside open to the public.

Following construction on two big projects - the West Coast Media Port and the West Coast Cultural Corridor - this area is set to become a new cultural landmark of Xuhui District, with theaters, museums and media businesses and bars.

Guo Jianfei, director of Xuhui District, said that the first period of construction of the Binjiang area project has already been completed, with the 3.6-kilometer-long Coast Avenue and a riverside platform.

Some historic industrial structures along the river, such as tower cranes and aviation tankers, have been given a new lease of life and put to innovative use as gardens and stages.

This shift to service industries is becoming the theme of industrial development in Xuhui.

"In the past five years, our average annual economic growth rate was about 9.6 percent, but for 2013 we've set the target at 7.5 percent," said Guo.

"We've lowered our expectations to promote the transformation to modern service industries. From 2011, we set target of economic growth rate of modern service industries to 14 percent annually, higher than for other sectors," explained Guo.

As Shanghai's only district nationally recognized for demonstrating public cultural services, Xuhui can boast a long cultural history and rich cultural resources.

It is already home to the Shanghai Film Group, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, Shanghai Peking Opera Theater, Shanghai Yueju Opera Theater and Shanghai Huju Opera Theater.

Existing cultural facilities provide a good basis for the development of the West Coast Media Port and the West Coast Cultural Corridor, said officials.

The West Coast Media Port will occupy nine blocks, surrounded by Longteng Avenue at the east, Huangshi Road at the south, Yunjin Road at the west and Guihua No. 7 Road at the north. The total planning area is 19 hectares.

It has already succeeded in attracting top foreign and domestic media and entertainment names, companies in the fields of cinema and TV, music and modern culture. A series of high-end commercial and service business - such as entertainment facilities and hotels - will be set up to support these projects.

A significant event last year for the project was a deal that will see Oriental DreamWorks - a joint venture between Chinese public companies and DreamWorks, the world-famous US studio behind hits such as "Shrek" and "Kung Fu Panda" - locate its headquarters at West Coast Media Port.

Last July, the Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration published a detailed plan of West Coast Media Port, with the basic design of the DreamWorks project also decided.

In addition to DreamWorks, other world famous media and film and television names attracted to West Coast Media Port include Television Broadcast Limited (TVB) from Hong Kong, Emperor Motion, STAR TV and Sony Pictures.

In total, more than 150 film and television enterprises are expected to locate there, with other names including Shanghai Film Group, Shanghai United Circuit, Shanghai Film and TV Series Production Corporation and East Movies.

Together, they will compose a new cultural landmark, said officials.

Some supporting amenities are already under construction: Shanghai Film Square will soon be complete; the National Music Industrial Base on Shilong Road will also be established in the near future.

And the Meiluo Theater at Xujiahui is under planning.

Meanwhile, steps are also under way on the West Coast Cultural Corridor. In July, the Dragon Modern Art Museum and Yu Deyao Art Gallery signed up to locate there; during the National Day holidays, the Binjiang area held the first Shanghai West Coast Music Festival, a three-day event attracting nearly 40,000 visitors; and in November, Xuhui authorities and Shanghai University co-held the 11th Shanghai Culture Academic Conference.

This year, the district will see projects from TVB, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, China Fortune Securities, Wanda Group and Hunan Satellite TV (HNTV). The Dragon Modern Art Museum and Yu Deyao Art Gallery will open in October.

"It's a new decade for the development of Huangpu River riverside areas," Guo said. "The target of Xuhui District is to become an important integration area of Shanghai's service industries.

"We will combine the high-end cultural industry with local people's lives so that there will be both a world-class business area and public cultural spaces for ordinary citizens," said the district director.

"We will strive to display the best resources, the best brands and the best teams of the country on the riverside corridor of Binjiang area."

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