From a fishing village in the 11th Century , to the world’s busiest port today, Shanghai has long been synonymous with international trade and commerce. It is now cementing its position as the hottest retail city in Asia, becoming the go-to place for brands to develop flagship presence.

In a time where “digital” is the growth engine of retail, and particularly in a place like Shanghai where technological leapfrogging has placed so much access to retail in the palms of people’s hands, the very idea of large physical Flagship stores may seem idiosyncratic. But Flagships have always been more than just a store – they are a statement of intent, a brand and marketing investment, and an opportunity to showcase innovation.

In the last 18 months, a number of statement Flagships have opened. First up was Starbucks on West Nanjing Rd. with their Reserve Roastery – the largest Starbucks in the world by 2018. Featuring a 40-ton copper cask as its’ centrepiece, a 27-metre Coffee Bar and China’s first Teavana Bar, this is a Starbucks like no other, and has rapidly become a tourist destination as well as coffee shop.

Nanjing Road has long been the location of choice for international brands to establish high profile presence. Costa opened their first store in China on East Nanjing Road over 12 years ago, and have since witnessed the influx of more and more flagship stores to the bustling street.

Among them there are not only fashion apparel, but also inspirational and experiential brands such as LEGO . With a brilliantly tailored, Shanghai-inspired design and range, and innovative play-areas and personalisation features across 2 levels, this is a real statement store that, like Starbucks, has become a tourist attraction in its own right.

Next to LEGO in the redeveloped Shimao Shopping Plaza is Nike Shanghai 001 – the first House of Innovation store format from Nike anywhere in the world. Across 4 levels, and comprising 3,800 sq m; this is again a store like no other. Features and experiences including NikeByYou (customised and personalised shoe creation) and Shanghai Shop (unique local product), ensure Shanghai 001 lives up to the hype.

Opposite Nike, and opening within a matter of days of it, is the similarly impressive Adidas Flagship – a place that provides the full weight of the Adidas offer including Originals, Neo and Kids, and showcases innovation and personalisation.

Last up in the Sports and Fashion sector is FILA, which has displayed remarkable growth in China in recent years. The recently opened FILA, again on Nanjing Lu, brings together the different sub-brand propositions and reflects a statement of intent from an increasingly confident brand.

Whether you are looking for a Flagship presence in Shanghai, or are thinking of entering or expanding into any other city, Geolytix now have a comprehensive Retail Places dataset that maps and defines the extent, strength and type of all retail locations within all of the top cities in Asia. Get in touch for a chat if you’d like to find out more…