Located in South-western China, Chengdu is known as one of the top economic capitals in China. In 2013, the Chengdu Retail Industry Association released a report showing 3752.9 billion RMB spending in Chengdu, with 64% of that spent on consumer goods – clothes, jewellery, home appliances etc. Chengdu’s retail and consumer market is growing rapidly. Recently, more huge malls are popping up all over the city, adding to the many already existing international shopping centres around town.
With all of the options available to you, you’re going to need to the “must-see shopping areas” of Chengdu.
1. Chunxi Lu (春熙路)
The Chunxi Road Business Zone used to be the largest and most popular shopping districts in the early nineties even though the shopping area was just a single pedestrian street in downtown Chengdu in the past, but now it has developed and spread to become much larger, covering several city blocks and spilling over in all directions.
The biggest draws to this shopping district are the three mega malls which sell everything from imported goods to local vegetables, including apparel, appliances and even sporting equipment. Ito Yokado and Isetan are the two large Japanese mega malls that carry big-name brands, such as Coach, SWAROVSKI, GODIVA, and ZARA, as well as whole floors devoted to kids games, electronics and Asian foods. You’ll find sushi, sukiyaki, and Japan’s famous Tonkatsu Wako, as well as local Sichuan places, Hong Kong restaurants, and Western-style cafes in both Ito Yokado and Isetan.
Chicony is a Taiwanese-developed shopping mall where you’ll find many high-end brands, such as Rolex, Tommy Hilfiger, BVLGARI, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, and Lacoste. The entire 9th floor of the Chicony mall is a boardwalk of many international foods including Korean, Hong Kong, Indian, Japanese, and Thai. You’ll even find Papa John’s pizza if you’re looking for that American flavour!
More than just a simple shopping area, Chunxi Lu is also an important landmark in downtown Chengdu. It lies just east of the Mao Statue on Tianfu Square and serves as a symbolic boundary (along with Mao) between the north-south and east-west parts of the city. A statue of 孙中山 (Sun Yat-Sen) stands in the central square of the shopping district. Sun Yat-Sen is known as the founder of modern China, and also “The Father of the Nation”.
Since Chengdu Metro Line 2 opened, Chunxi Lu is now easily reachable through the Chunxi Lu (春熙路) stop – one stop east of the Tianfu Square interchange.
2. Raffles City （来福士广场）
Raffles City is one of Chengdu’s newest mall which is one of malls in my recommendation list, having opened on 23th September, 2012. It was developed by the Singaporean firm Capitaland. The mall was designed by world-renowned architect Steven Holl, and has quickly become an iconic structure on the south side of the city, right off of the city’s main artery – Renmin Road. The building also includes the dramatic Light Pavilion, an experimental art installation by designer Lebbeus Woods.
Raffles City offers a breath of fresh air for both local and foreigners in Chengdu. Unlike other shopping centres, Raffles City is almost pure international flavour: more than 70% of all outlets are the types of foreign brands you would find at a comparable mall back home, including a spectacular grocery store, TREAT, which carries an incredibly large selection of foreign groceries at affordable prices. Raffles City is a mixed-use development, so the complex includes retail, food, entertainment outlets, and office space.
Raffles City is also the home of Lumière Pavilions, one of only 15 theatres worldwide that use the new Dolby Atmos sound format (referred to as LD in China), lauded for giving users a 4D-like experience. The first movie to be shown using this technology will be Taken 2. Next to the theatres, you’ll also find a state of the art arcade with all of the newest games.
Raffles City is easily reachable by Chengdu Metro Line 1, at the Sichuan Gymnasium (省体育馆) stop.
3. International Financial Square (IFS)
IFS is the mall I recommend the most. Occupying the most coveted location within the core business district in the heart of Chengdu, IFS has been conceived as a ‘city within a city’. The retail podium offers luxury and flagship retail, entertainment and a food and beverage terrace featuring international cuisine, al fresco dinning and a sculpture garden. The scheme aims to celebrate the city by amplifying the spirit of the street. At the same time, innovative and international ideas have been injected to create a new financial, culture, leisure and entertainment hub.
After opening in January 2014, IFS has established itself as a new landmark and benchmark for the city and western China. My recommendation is go to try every restaurant in IFS – especially the Very Thai Restaurants in 7th floor – they all worthy of tasting.
IFS is easily reachable by Chengdu Metro Line 2, at the Chunxi Lu (春熙路) stop.
4. Yanlord Landmark (仁恒置地广场)
Opened in 2010, Yanlord Landmark is a mall dedicated solely to luxury brands. Several of the world’s largest luxury brands have their Chengdu flagship stores in the Yanlord Landmark complex, including Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior, Burberry, Canali, Berlutti and Hugo Boss. The Yanlord Landmark’s entire concept is based around luxury living, so the decor, layout and storefronts strive to reflect that concept. The mixed-use development has several high-end restaurants, excellent spas, and one of Yanlord Landmark’s finest features: the ultra-luxurious Fraser Suites serviced apartments.
Yanlord Landmark is easily reachable with Metro Line 1 at the Jinjiang Hotel (锦江宾馆) stop.
Chengdu is growing and evolving at a rapid pace, with more and more mega-malls going up each year. I will continue to update this space with new and exciting locations for shopping, but for now check out these other great locations:
Wang Fu Jing (王府井): A well-known Chinese mall with two locations in Chengdu. One location north of Chunxi Lu, and the second just south of the Nijiaqiao (倪家桥) subway station on Metro Line 1.
9 Square (九方购物中心): Another new mall which opened in September. Accessible by subway at the Incubation Park (孵化园) stop on Metro Line 1.
Wanda Mall (万达广场): A large mall right on the east side of the city, bordering 2nd ring road that offers some international brands, as well Japan’s department store, Ito Yokado. Unlike, Chunxi Lu’s Ito Yokado, this location stocks extra foreign goods for the neighbouring western people living in Jade City.
UNO Mall (富力天汇中心): A large mall that carries UNIQLO, H&M, a movie theatre, skating rink, and a floor that sells cars. This mall is northwest of Chunxi Lu.
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