Foshan, China—Advisory Services Panel

Date: November 8-13, 2015

Location: Foshan, China

Sponsor: City of Foshan and Shui On Land Inc.

Subject Area: Transitioning the city center for an Innovative Economy

Panel Chair: Tom Murphy, Senior Resident Fellow, Urban Land Institute

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Background and Panel Assignment

foshan-2The city of Foshan lies at the heart of one of China’s most fertile deltas, across the Pearl River from the Guangdong provincial capital of Guangzhou. One of 16 reform pioneering super cities, it has a long history of international trade, household appliance and ceramics production, and martial arts. Since the 17th century, Foshan has been a trading center. As such, it is the ancestral home of many leading business figures in nearby Hong Kong and Macau.  Today, Foshan is a powerhouse, with some 7.3 million people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$100 billion. The city is an exemplar of both the achievements and challenges common to China’s emerging metropolises.

The focus of this panel was the Chancheng District and Shui On Land’s Lingnan Tiandi development. However, the context included the larger boundaries of the city, the impact of the historical manufacturing and design industries on spatial development, and the future economic development opportunities for Foshan.   The panel was specifically asked to provide strategic advice on what actions the public and private sector should take to develop an innovative economy in Foshan and to create a vibrant urban core.


Summary of Recommendations

The panel makes the following recommendations to the study area:

  • The city must provide a strong investment in educational opportunities from kindergarten through university.
  • The city and private development community should collaborate to create an urban university campus in Chancheng.
  • The city and private development community should recruit a world-class university to Chancheng.
  • The city and private development community should establish a Center for Entrepreneurship in Chancheng.
  • The city and property owners should rethink the current mix of approved uses in and around the Lingnan Tiandi development to better integrate the live/work/play concept.
  • Foshan, in general, and the Chancheng District, in particular, should focus efforts to cultivate and nurture authenticity. Further, it should improve brand clarity to take advantage of the city’s status as the center of Lingnan culture.
  • The city should connect major regional city centers with high-speed or express rail or bus transportation services.
  • The city should continue the strong support of employment growth in the outer districts



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