While it is far away from Hong Kong and has a cold winter, Shenyang is an attractive city for investment, not only because it is the largest city in northeast China, but also on account of its improving business environment, says Choi Koon-shum, chairman of Sunwah Group and the chairman of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.
Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, covers a land area of 13,308 square metres, with a population of 8.1 million. The city has been known for its heavy industries, but in recent years the city government has strived to develop new industries and improve the living environment. It has increased greenery in the city, and closed down or relocated some of its polluted factories.
In order to improve the business environment, it is developing a 30km Golden Corridor at Qingnian Main Street in the city centre with the aim to become the new central business district.
Choi says since Shenyang is the political, economic, business and education centre of northeast China; government officials and businessmen from more than 10 surrounding cities frequently visit it for business, and people from the surrounding cities also visit Shenyang regularly for shopping and holidays. These provide fine sources of business for the city's hotels, apartments and shopping malls.
The Sunwah Group was one of the earliest investors in Shenyang from beyond the mainland. It entered Shenyang in 1990, involving itself in some educational projects, and was invited by the city government to develop the Torch Building, (later renamed Sunwah Technology Tower), an office building and the tallest in northeast China at that time.
The group also took the lead in developing the Golden Corridor with the construction of the Sunwah IFC (international financial centre). This includes an office tower, two serviced apartment towers, and a shopping mall. Together with the Sunwah Technology Tower, the whole complex covers a total floor area of about 400,000 square metres. Construction is expected to be completed in mid-2012.
The Golden Corridor will begin to take shape in the next few years with various projects, including those by major Hong Kong developers Cheung Kong, China Resources, Hang Lung, Henderson, Kerry, New World and Shui On.