Today, Shanghai Daily has an excellent feature on Hangzhou, one of China's richest and most beautiful cities. Owing to its coastal location and proximity to Shanghai, Hangzhou has managed to strike a unique balance among China's more developed east coast metropolitan hubs, offering visitors and locals everything from untamed nature to world-class luxury shopping. Despite the city's relatively small size (population: 6.7 million, huge by Western standards but only about 1/3 as populous as Shanghai), Hangzhou -- with 110,500 wealthy individuals, according to the Hurun Report -- is China's third-largest market for luxury goods, trailing only Beijing and Shanghai.
What is the secret of Hangzhou's success, aside from its proximity to Shanghai and easy traveling distance to the prosperous Pearl River Delta region? Though the city has rapidly developed, doubling its GDP in only five years mainly as a result of the build-up of its industrial and high-tech sectors, one important draw that Hangzhou has is a lucrative tourism industry. With popular sites like the nearby West Lake (xihu), ancient tea gardens and a number of ornate temples and pagodas, Hangzhou has attracted Chinese and foreign tourists for years. Now, though, many Chinese tourists are drawn to the city not only for its natural beauty but also for its luxury stores.
From Shanghai Daily:
Hangzhou is rich and it's a magnet for wealthy shoppers who love their exalted luxury brands. All the big names are there: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Valentino, Hermes, Bvlgari, Dolce & Gabbana and Bentley, to name just a few.
The buying power and the sums spent are stupendous.
Hangzhou's luxury goods consumption is fueled by wealthy people throughout Zhejiang Province. Yiwu, Wenzhou and Shaoxing cities also are all well known for their wealth and extravagant lifestyles.
Hangzhou, also ranked as the most livable city in China, attracts many middle and upper-class people to live and work, further fueling consumption.
The two central meccas of luxury are Hangzhou Tower and Hubin International Boutique Compound.
Last year the sales at Lancome's single counter in Hangzhou Tower ranked No. 1 among all Lancome's counters in China, while sales of Omega watches in Hangzhou Tower ranked No. 1 over Asia, according to Hangzhou Tower officials.
"Fine goods sell out very soon in Hangzhou," says Lou Jinyan, chairman of Hangzhou Tower. "Watches valued more than 1 million yuan sell out as soon as they are displayed, so do Bentley cars."
The Hubin International Boutique Compound is a top fashion business district in the Yangtze River Delta region, not only for its 10,000 square meters of floor space but also its wide range of brands that are updated at the same time as international fashions.
Hubin compound boasts the first Dolce & Gabbana flagship store on the Chinese mainland, the first Armani Casa independent boutique in China and the biggest Hermes flagship store on the mainland.