New construction in Tianjin, the sixth-largest city in China and an up-and-coming commercial hub that has beneffited greatly from its proximity to Beijing, has increased several-fold in recent years, mainly on the strength of the city's manufacturing industry. More recently, however, Tianjin has taken great pains to project itself both in China and overseas as a modern city, with ample room for growth and capacity for increased tourism, business, and trade.
This week, Shanghai Daily noted that Tianjin officials will showcase the city's progress in the Urban Best Practices Area at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo next spring:
Huaming Town is modern with a solar-powered residential complex for farmers. The town includes shopping streets, parks, schools, clinics and public transport, said Zhang Changhe, Party secretary of Huaming.
Tianjin's 400-square-meter pavilion at the Expo will replicate the town.
Farmers now live in apartments with an average of 80 square meters per family. Zhang said the farmers' old clay or brick homes were worth only 20,000 yuan (US$2,928) to 50,000 yuan even though they were bigger. Most now have apartments worth more than 550,000 yuan.
Just in time for Tianjin's representatives to show off their city's progress at the World Expo, Raffles Tianjin, the latest China location for the Singaporean luxury hotel chain, is set to open next March. This location will be the second Raffles in China, after Beijing, and with Raffles setting a 2012 due date for their striking Hangzhou location, it is clear that the lucrative China market is a critical part of Raffles' long-term China strategy. From Hotels magazine:
The luxury hotel is scheduled to open by March 2010 atop Tianjin Centre, in the heart of the city's business and financial district.
"China is an important strategic market for growing Raffles Hotels & Resorts' presence," says Raffles President John Johnston. "Tianjin was a key target for our brand expansion, as a fast-growing city with an exciting future."
Occupying the top 36-50 floors of the Tianjin Centre's West Tower, Raffles Tianjin features 116 luxury rooms (including 22 elegant suites) that are among the largest in the city -- beginning with oversized Grand Rooms close to 700 square feet, more than double the size of a standard Tianjin hotel room.
Rooms feature luxurious living areas adorned with contemporary Chinese furnishings adding modern sophistication and residential charm. Elegant motifs of China Rose, the flower emblem of Tianjin City, feature as part of the hotel décor, reflecting a sense of belonging in the vibrant city.
With the construction of new luxury hotels, as we've seen in other cities like Shenzhen and Macau, the luxury retailers -- and shoppers -- are sure to follow. With Tianjin emerging as an important commercial hub, particularly for domestic Chinese companies looking to expand out of Beijing, we can expect to see the lure of wealthy locals drawing luxury brands to open locations near Raffles Tianjin in the city's business district.