Financial services have become more important to Hong Kong’s economy as its Manufacturing base has shifted across the border. Given Hong Kong’s space re-straints, that has been all to the good. But costs have soared in recent years, air qual-ity has deteriorated and traffic jams seem worse than ever. You hear a lot of stories these days about fund managers moving to Singapore to get away from the smog.
But for any firm that is serious about the China market, Hong Kong is a must-and Shanghai is as yet no substitute. The price differential in stocks listed dually in Shanghai and Hong Kong tells its own story. Martin Wheatley, who used to work at the London Stock Exchange and is now the chief market regulator in Hong Kong, puts the premium for shares listed there at about 50%. He and others say that Hong Kong’s stringent regulatory standards give any Chinese firm listing in the territory an instant credibility boost in the eyes of for-eign investors. Whether and when this gap narrows is a matter of close interest across the region. “Hong Kong aspires to be the Wall Street of China, and Shanghai is its only competitor in this region,” says a Hong Kong based lawyer.
Tiny Singapore, like Hong Kong, has long had to rely on its ingenuity to succeed. Compared with the relatively free-wheeling capitalism of Hong Kong, Singapore has a much more managed economy. Decisions are taken and implemented swiftly. Only a couple of decades after the government identified finance as a priority sector, Singapore has a thriving financial exchange, is considered a prime hub for wealth management and has a growing number of boutique hedge funds.
As for Shanghai, the Chinese govern-ment wants to make it a great financial cen-tre again, as part of its broader goal of “leading China out of poverty into a glori-ous future,” says an analyst in the city. But for all the money and business flowing into Shanghai these days, it also shows up all the problems of emerging financial cen-tres in developing markets. Many foreign visitors arriving at its international airport travel to the city on a Maglev train, the world’s fastest, which can reach 430km（267miles）an hour. But it terminates miles from the city centre. Like the Maglev train, Shanghai needs further development to meet global standards.
A slew of international investment banks, ranging from Glodman Sachs to Al-lianz, ABN Amro and BNP Paribas, have of-fices in Hong Kong, as do many interna-tional hedge funds, private-equity firms and insurance companies. A variety of home-grown firms play an important re-gional and international part. The legacy of British colonial rule-including the widespread use of English, a Western-based legal system and international stan-dards of corporate governance-continues to serve Hong Kong well a decade after the handover to China. Support services such as international law firms, whose opera-tions remain highly restricted on the main-land, base themselves in Hong Kong. One-third of Hong Kong’s company stock list-ings and about half of the market capital-isation on the financial exchange come from mainland Chinese companies, in-cluding the successful joint listing last year of ICBC in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
有點長 不過真的有點急 謝謝
All shapes and sizes
Asia’s financial centres reflect its vast geography and divergent economies
Locals and foreign visitors alike enjoy a stroll along the Bund, the famous em-bankment along the Huangpu river in Shanghai. With performers, pedlars, cou-ples and families all milling around, the waterfront has a carnival-like atmosphere.Behind it, a string of historic buildings-from the old peace Hotel to granite dome that used to house the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank-recall the Bund’s glory days as the Wall Street of China.
But today the real attraction is on the opposite bank of the Huangpu, where the Pudong financial district is sprouting new skyscrapers at a remarkable pace, most of them the work of well-known architects from around the world. The 88-storey Jin Mao tower, currently tallest in China, houses a spectacular Grand Hyatt hotel as well as the offices of international firms ranging from Socie’te’ Ge’ne’rale to Aon. Next year it will be overtaken by the Shanghai World Financial Centre. Nearby the Oriental Pearl Tower sports futuristic pink bulbs that form a favourite backdrop for holiday snaps. As the skyscrapers rise in Pudong, the luxury-goods shops in the upmarket quarters of the city do steady business, and old buildings along the Bund are getting new leases on life as smart restaurants and bars.
The Shanghai Stock Exchange offers further evidence that this city is awash with money. The leading market index has surged by more than 300% in the past 18 months. Foreign investors are clamouring for a bigger share of the action, but the au-thorities have kept capital controls in place to ensure that most of it goes to the Chi-nese domestic market.