Business district flourishes at strategic crossroads
With 60 skyscrapers in two concentric circles, Zhengzhou's Zhengdong central business district (CBD) aims to become a financial and banking hub in central China.
The Zhengdong CBD is now home to 150 financial institutions, including the regional headquarters of HSBC, People's Bank of China, Bank of China and the Agricultural Bank of China. These big banks alone have been estimated to process 70 per cent of all deposits and 60 per cent of all loans in Henan province. This has helped the Zhengdong CBD's economy to grow at a rate that is well above the national average. As of 2012, the new district's GDP was rising by 13.2 per cent per year and generated US$1.22 billion in annual tax revenue.
Construction on the Zhengdong CBD, designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, began in 2003 as part of a broader project to redevelop Zhengzhou's eastern area with a 150-square-kilometre new district. Phase 1 of the project was completed in five years, and the financial district immediately began filling up its 800,000 square metres of commercial space with the headquarters and offices of major banks.
"In Zhengzhou, domestic companies from various sectors, including Xiamen Airlines and Huawei, entered grade A projects such as Missun Centre, Ledi Expo Building, and Yuda International Trade Centre, [and] are somewhat balancing out the continued weak demand from foreign companies," says Steven McCord of Jones Lang LaSalle.
"Over the past years, cities in central and western China have been competing with each other on becoming the financial epicentre," says Daan Roggeveen, the founder of MORE Architecture. The financial district's appeal has been enhanced by Zhengzhou's central location on the crossroads of two major rail lines, heavy investment in the Zhengdong CBD, and strong government backing, he says.