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City Report Changsha

As the capital city of Hunan Province, Changsha is the centre of political, economic, cultural, education and transportation in Central China. In the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (2011-2012), issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Changsha ranked 4th of the top 10 global cities which have the fastest development speed of competitiveness after San Jose, Hong Kong and Suzhou.

Changsha is a regional centre with a GDP of 639 Billion RMB and follows Wuhan, the leading city in central China. Changsha is also working towards being a world-class historic and cultural centre, and tourism city



In 2012, the GDP of Changsha was 639 Billion RMB, a 13% year on year increase, that ranked 7th among the 26 capital cities in China. The primary industry increased by 27.2 Billion, up 4%; the secondary industry increased by 359.25 Billion, a 14.5% year on year growth. The service sector increased by 253.5 Billion, a 12% year on year increase. The total retail sales of consumer goods in Changsha was 245.7 Billion, a 15.7% growth when compared to 2011.


Government policy

According to the latest City Commercial Network Layout Plan of Changsha (2005-2020) issued by the local government, Changsha will have 33 regional commercial centres by 2020, of which 1 municipality and 12 regional commercial centres are already being developed. The government is focusing on turning Changsha from a domestic regional centre city into an international regional centre, and expect this to attract more luxury brands.

Media industry

Changsha has a 3,000 year history, and in 1978, it began to reform and open like other mainland cities. However, since it was unable to enjoy government policy support like cities in coastal areas, the economic development of Changsha was slower. In the mid 90’s, with the rise of the local distinctive media, catering and service industry, the economy began to grow. Currently, Changsha’s media industry including Hunan TV station, Golden Eagle TV Festival and Titan Sports, have become a powerful media force not only in China, but worldwide.


Luxury retail distribution

Changsha has six traditional business centres. The Wuyi and Dongtang business centres are where many luxury brands and consumers are concentrated. Over 6000 shops are located in Wuyi business centre, known as the “the best business centre of Hunan”, it has over 30,000 consumers and about 1 Billion RMB annual sales. High-end department stores like Maison Mode, Bailian Oriental department store and New World department store are all in this area.

Dongtang business centre is located in the Yuhua district. After decades of development, it has formed a commercial centre that including Dongtang department store and Friendship Mall which is the core of the zone and a symbol of high-end shopping in Changsha.

Maison Mode

Maison Mode is situated in Changsha’s financial and business centre, and covers over 7,000 sqm across 3 floors. It contains over 40 luxury brands and over 30 branded stores such as Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ermenegildo Zegna, TOD’S, Celine and Piaget. Over 70% of international brands in Maison Mode were first opened in Changsha and central China.

New World department store

New World department store opened in 2006 and is located in the centre of Wuyi commercial area and only about a hundred metres away from the South Huangxing Road, ‘the best street in central China’. The store covers about 35,000 sqm across 7 floors. High-end consumers are typically aged from 24-45, and are the main target of the store. Within it can be found many brands, including Burberry, Vertu, Trussardi, Verri, Versace etc..

Friendship Mall

Opened in 1981 and refurbished at a cost of 260 Million RMB in 2008, the Friendship Mall is representative of a high-end department store in Changsha. It is a one-stop experience integrating shopping, catering, entertainment, culture and luxury products form brands such as Cartier, Canali, Dunhill, Hugo boss, Gucci, MaxMara, Bvlgari, Burberry, Coach, David Mayer Naman, Montblanc and Piaget.


Consumer attitudes

According to a survey of luxury consumers in Changsha carried out in March 2013, they are mainly business owners, government officials, senior executives and white collar workers from different sectors. The average age of Changsha luxury consumers is decreasing. The reasons they buy the luxury products can be classified into 4 groups: ‘face’, representing 40%; ‘work or social needs’, representing 39%; other reasons are ‘really needed for life’ and ‘following other people’. The consumers in Changsha have recently began to purchase luxury, and are sensitive and care about the price rather the brand values. Those consumers are beginners who think that having a few luxury products is a must but who barely understand the brand culture.

Editors view

Although Changsha is a second-tier city in China, its high-end shopping market has been leveraged by foreign luxury brands in recent years. According the data from a high-end department store, the sales of LV, Ferragama, Tod’s and Bally in Changsha ranked 3rd among all cities in China in 2011, achieved the growth rate of more than 55%.

Opening on 27th September 2013, the Wanda department store that will contain over 60 luxury brands including Rolex, Omega, LV, Gucci, etc. This will be followed later by the Haixin Group which claims to have attracted 800 international brands such as Hermes, LV, Prada, Cartier, Gucci, Fendi, Bottega, Veneta, Burberry, Armani, Versace to its Qingdao and Tianjin shopping malls, and also plans to open a high-end shopping mall in Changsha by 2015. Wahaha group will introduce 82 new international brands to Changsha, including Groc, Mico, Angelico, De Robert and so on. A large proportion of these brands will come from Europe and establish their initial presence in China, symbolising the establishment of ‘Affordable luxury’ in the city.

The city, which has the highest consumption of luxury in central China, is said to become a major retail hub for luxury brands over the next 5-8 years.


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