• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 4:13am
Mr. Shangkong
PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 6:47am

Why the children of many important people are in Hong Kong

Job offers at top US investment bank in the city hardly breaking news as workplace is safer and closer to their hometowns on the mainland

BIO

George Chen is the Financial Editor and Mr. Shangkong Columnist at the South China Morning Post. George has covered China's political and economic changes since 2002. George is the author of two books -- This is Hong Kong I Know (2014) and Foreign Banks in China (2011). George has been named a 2014 Yale World Fellow. More about George: www.mrshangkong.com
 

The sons and daughters and even the grandsons and granddaughters of those who are or used to be in very powerful positions in China have recently grabbed public attention again, thanks to some so-called breaking news which isn't really "breaking" at all.

Many of those children who were born on the mainland are now working and living in Hong Kong. They came here from various places. Some came from the United States after graduating from university in that country.

Others may have come from their hometowns such as Shanghai or Beijing where their parents or relatives were "very important persons" who wanted to send their children out of the country to gain experience and live a different life but not send them too far away for working and living.

For example, those "important parents" might judge a foreign country like the US to be unsafe.

And then Hong Kong naturally becomes the first choice for many of those parents, in particular following the 1997 handover, making them feel safer to keep their children in the city.

If something happens and they want to return to the mainland, they can do it at almost any time - just go to the airport and buy a ticket, and within two or three hours, you will land in Shanghai or Beijing where you can be well protected by your "important parents".

And in cases where those "important parents" are someday in trouble on the mainland, their children can also quickly book flights and fly out of Hong Kong.

The New York Times may feel it got a big scoop when it sent a news alert to its online subscribers worldwide about the children of the chairman of China Everbright Group and a former senior railway official in Beijing getting job offers at the Hong Kong office of JP Morgan.

It kind of indicated that JP Morgan may have wanted to win deals through such special Chinese relations and this may be a breach of the US anti-graft law for multi-national companies operating abroad.

To me, the only news here is in the timing - why now should the US government be bothered? And why China Everbright, just when the major mainland bank is coming to Hong Kong for a listing?

I believe those special relations at big banks are not something that you will call a surprise when you read the relevant news.

What's new after the exposure by the Times of these "special Chinese kids" getting job offers is that some of them are now considering job changes.

To be fair, some of those children do have very good educational backgrounds and they try to remain low-profile and just focus on their work. One of them once complained to me about too much media focus.

"I studied finance at university and if I don't join an investment bank or private equity fund, shall I go home and be a politician like my father? And then some people may say China is like North Korea because of these family succession plans. They always have something to say about China."

That's his personal complaint. Makes some sense?

 

George Chen is the Post's financial services editor. Mr. Shangkong appears every Monday in the print version of the SCMP. Like it? Visit facebook.com/mrshangkong

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This article is now closed to comments

CatInAFlap
Infantile stuff.
recanter
It's because it's easier to smuggle black money into HK than overseas! Simple...
johnh
How ironic...the privileged of China, all wanna get out of China
wazibear
The poor choice of topic, poor standard of writing.
kittychan1978
Boring title, boring writing.
Au Yat
Hong Kong has a change in 1997.It returned the sovereignty of HK to china.And because of the nature of England,it carried to be a port that connect Mainland China and Europe.Because of this history,the Chinese parents of the above article can safety bet Hong Kong for their children.Because there are two main ways for then,so they think that they can come back within 2 hrs,and flew off in 12 hrs,there are a insurance in Hong Kong,so I think that they come Hong Kong,this will happen sooner or happened.
Byebye
Imagine Hong Kong SAR, an offshore haven?
Camel
Should I feel sorry now for the princelings Mr. Chen?
aplucky1
I feel very sorry for these "princlings" maybe the government will setup a fund for a few billion dollars to ensure they are comfortable here
if they are not happy they will have their big bad parents beat us up
lucifer
You are joking, right? For the same reason investment banks set up in Hong Kong, Princlings flock to Hong Kong toi receive theire meal tickets. It's also out oif and away from Mainland jurisdiction. There are going to be a lot fo changes in the coming days...I don't think US banks will be as notorious in their hiring of princlings as they have been in the past.
 
 
 
 
 

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