Beijing ranks at the top of an 'attractiveness ranking' of upmarket retail investment opportunities in 18 mainland cities compiled by property consultancy DTZ. Shanghai came in second, while Guangzhou was fifth and Shenzhen lower down the scale on 17th. Second-tier cities were high scorers, with Chongqing third and Chengdu ranked fourth. Shenyang was not far behind at sixth and Wuhan was seventh. The ranking calculations were based on four criteria: consumer affluence (based on per capita retail sales in 2009); the opportunity to develop the retail space (based on average retail space per capita); sales growth forecasts over the next five years; and sentiment issues. According to the DTZ Research China Insight - China Retail May 2011 report, Beijing outperforms other markets in projected sales growth, with an annual growth rate of 11.4 per cent forecast for the next five years. The national capital's position is supported by the large number of tourists and business travellers it attracts as well as the very high brand penetration in the city. The launch of new retail space, such as China World Trade Centre Phase III, would improve and expand competition in Beijing's high-end market, DTZ said. Hangzhou, which led the pack on per person retail sales, was ranked 11th after opportunity and growth factors were taken into account. High-end retail property was defined as including shopping centres and department stores whose specifications and management were of a high quality and attracted luxury retail brands. The mainland retail sector has become increasingly relevant to investors, with investment growing by 25 per cent per annum over the last decade, according to DTZ. The key question for many investors and developers was where to invest in the emerging high-end retail markets. DTZ said its analysis of 18 mainland cities considered which city markets investors and developers should target for their portfolio expansion in the next growth phase of the high-end retail markets across the mainland. With average economic growth between 2010 and 2019 forecast to be 8.6 per cent, robust GDP growth would result in a strong increase in disposable income and consumer confidence, it said. But, among the world's major economies, China still has the lowest domestic consumption as a percentage of GDP (35 per cent in 2009), whereas its savings rate in 2009 was around 51 per cent, the highest when compared with the same countries. DTZ research head for east China Shaun Brodie said domestic consumption as a percentage of GDP was expected to increase to around 55 per cent by 2020. 'This is expected to provide a strong momentum for retail markets in China in the future,' Brodie said.