CTG Duty Free Complex at Guangzhou North Railway Station Breaks Ground, the First of Its Kind in the Greater Bay Area with a 13.6 Billion Investment

On December 31, 2021, the duty free complex of China Travel Group at Guangzhou North Railway Station broke ground, marking an important substantial step forward of the first duty-free complex project in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which presses the accelerator button of Huadu’s upgrading progress by promoting it transition from an air-rail hub to an economic hub. Presented at the event were relevant leaders of Huadu District, along with Jiang Hong, Party secretary and board chair of the CTG Investment, and Mou Weizheng, general manager of CTG Free Duty Limited, and CTG senior officials, as well as leaders of functional departments of Huadu District.

CTG’s duty free complex project at Guangzhou North Railway Station covers a total area of about 90,000 square meters, with a total construction area of about 600,000 square meters. The 13.6 billion yuan complex includes duty-free mall, outlets mall, 1 office tower, 2 commercial towers and some public supporting facilities.

The one-stop duty free complex

will be a new poster boy for business + tourism in northern Guangzhou

The project has attracted much attention since April this year, when CTG Investment, a subsidiary of China Tourism Group, made a successful bid for the land on which the complex will be built. The project is a one-stop tax-free complex project to be jointly built by China Tourism Group and the Guangzhou Municipal Government in line with the regional planning vision and the group's development strategy, and it will also be the first duty free complex in the Greater Bay Area. The project is located in the northwest of Guangzhou, at the southern end of Huadu District. It is, as the crow flies, about 10 kilometers away from Baiyun International Airport and 28 kilometers away from the seat of Guangzhou Municipal Government, and the land is seamless connected to the west with Guangzhou North Railway Station. The region there is a hub of aviation, railway, rail transit, and road transportation that connects the Pan Pearl River Delta, and is an indispensable stop for air-to-rail transfers. At the same time, it is adjacent to the cultural tourism industry and to the business industrial belt of Guangzhou North Railway Station, and will in the future take on many important urban functions such as tourism, transportation hub, business, and leisure.

The project has a gross plot ratio area of approximately 380,000 square meters, with the urban oasis concept as the center of its commercial part. The various heights of buildings, the multi-level outdoor platforms, and the water and vegetation systems introduced to beautify the environment and attract people flow, will give the complex an overall appearance with a sense of future science and technology. It will be a place of duty free shops, outlets, fashion, leisure, entertainment, tourism, and residence that will become a new poster boy for business + tourism in northern Guangzhou.

TOD+ duty free concept

blaze the path for comprehensive development model

Huadu, not only having the only large-scale air-rail hub in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, but also a far reaching waterway (road) transportation system consisting of Huadu Port and highways, is a bridge and bond in the Greater Bay Area that connects it with the country and the world. In particular, Baiyun Airport is a large-scale international aviation airport the reaches the whole world, and the Guangzhou North Railway Station is the very gateway to reach Guangzhou from South China. What is more, Huadu also offers first-class business environment, suitable for business and living, with unimaginable room of development.

Encouraged by multiple advantages of transportation and favorable policies, China Tourism Group made a move in Huadu; two of its subsidiaries, CTG Investment and CTG Duty Free Limited are joining force to a duty free complex at Guangzhou North Railway Station. The project will explore the feasibility of the mode that combines TOD (transit-oriented development) + duty free concept. Leveraging on the "air-rail combined transport” hub, targeting three major customer groups of Huadu, i.e. new middle class, new urban generations, and hub visitors, and focusing on differentiation strategy, the project aims to create a landmark experience space with scenario force for a city that is a destination and a hub.

National policy support + Huadu’s unique advantages

provide good protection for the development of duty free business

At present, the duty free complex at Guangzhou North Railway Station is mostly surrounded by community-based commercial projects for daily household consumption; and apart from the Huadu Plaza business district, which is now taking shape, no other concentrated business districts are there yet. There is huge development room for Guangzhou North Railway Station; yet it is necessary in the future to increase its area of business and fill up gaps of commercial form and commercial district.

As early as the beginning of 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission and other 22 agencies jointly issued a document titled "Implementation Advice on Promoting Expansion and Quality Improvement of Consumption to Accelerate the Emergence of a Strong Domestic Market", proposing to further improve the duty-free industry policy. The document signals clear support of the nation on duty-free shops in cities, which lays a policy foundation for the construction of the CTG duty free complex at Guangzhou North Railway Station. While at the same time Huadu’s strategy to build a "Cultural Tourism +” system, in which "culture promotes tourism, tourism boosts , and business supports culture", and its prominent location and transportation advantages, provide good support for the development of duty free business. When the duty free complex at Guangzhou North Railway Station is completed in the future, it will take advantage of the advancement of the Greater Bay Area, and rely on multiple transportation advantages, such as Baiyun Airport, urban rail railways, and subways, to create a high-end international community that set a benchmark for human settlements.

Guangzhou is aiming to build an international consumption center city, and the construction of tax-free complexes is an important lever to do so. Relevant leaders of Huadu District said that Huadu was a city of hubs, opportunities, and vitality; and China Tourism Group, as the largest tourism central SOE in China, was very powerful in linking the entire industry chain and promoting the integrated development of cultural, business, tourism and sports; so it was hoped that the two parties would further deepen cooperation, and capitalize on the opportunity of the duty free complex project to build a "duty free capital", establish "Huadu brand” in duty free consumption, and contribute to consumption improvement and upgrading; and that the District Party Committee and government would make every effort to provide full-process tracking, all-factor guarantee, and all-round service for the development and construction of the project.

Mou Weizheng, general manager of CTG Free Duty Limited, said during an interview with central, provincial, and municipal media that one important reason why Huadu was chosen as the place of the duty free complex project was that it was the only transportation hub for air-rail combined transportation in the Greater Bay Area, an important part of the Guangzhou Airport Economic Zone, and last but not least, the distribution center of the eco-tourism area in the north of Guangzhou. According to Mr. Mou, the duty free complex will be centered on duty-free commerce, covering a whole range of business forms from urban boutique outlets, leisure experience, and gourmets, to parent-child world. As a full-time, all-season TOD project of leisure, entertainment and shopping, the complex is planned to be opened in 2025. Completion of the project will add new consumption scenes and new consumption business format for Guangzhou. At the same time, it will help attract more international brands to create a new commercial landmark and a new poster boy for tourism consumption in Guangzhou, contributing to Guangzhou's ambition to become an international consumption central city.