George Chen is Managing Editor for International Edition. He muses about the interplay between the two financial centres, Shanghai and Hong Kong, in his Mr. Shangkong columns online and in print. George, a 2014 Yale World Fellow, is the author of two books about China and Hong Kong. Follow George on Twitter: @george_chen

China's second generation rich pose risks with 'quick money' thinking

Jack Ma's feat in overshadowing Li Ka-shing on Asia's rich list will resonate with many people, especially the younger generation on the mainland.

It's really been a season of changes. Early this month China was confirmed by the International Monetary Fund as having overtaken the United States as the world's No 1 economy.

Monday, 15 December, 2014, 7:33am 2 comments

China, as world's new No 1 economy, still struggles with soft power

Last week, the International Monetary Fund confirmed that mainland China's economic output this year should overtake the United States. Photo: AFP

It's official now. China is No1 and America is No 2. I'm talking about which economy is the world's largest.

8 Dec 2014 - 7:22am 1 comment

Chinese race to be person of the year is about money, politics and freedom

President Xi Jinping, Jack Ma and Joshua Wong are now officially finalists for the Time's annual "Person of the Year" competition.

What do President Xi Jinping, Alibaba's Jack Ma Yun and Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong Chi-fung share in common?

1 Dec 2014 - 11:08am 5 comments

Visa deal to help bridge the US-China divide

Xi Jinping (right) and Barack Obama attend a joint press conference in Beijing. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the US and China. Photo: Kyodo

When Xi Jinping and Barack Obama this month announced a visa deal to make it easier for Chinese and Americans to travel between the two countries, the leaders probably had businessmen and students in mind.

24 Nov 2014 - 6:57am

Chinese passport holders gain from US visa deal

If the central government can make the Chinese passport more travel-friendly to more foreign countries, we will see fewer Chinese citizens wanting to emigrate to secure a "better passport".

US President Barack Obama, whose popularity at home is sinking, looked outwards instead last week to strike two major deals with China - co-operation on climate change and visa extensions for mainland citizens.

17 Nov 2014 - 8:57am 1 comment

Extreme Apec measures reveal Beijing's lack of self-confidence

To clear roads and streets for its Apec guests, the government simply decided to limit private transport of local residents.

What does being a host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit really mean for China? My short answer - it's all about "face", or what we call "mianzi" in Chinese.

10 Nov 2014 - 1:11pm 5 comments

Beijing risks losing an entire generation

In the short term, both the Occupy Central protesters and the Hong Kong government are losers.

I guess very few people, even the Occupy Central co-founders and student leaders, ever expected the pro-democracy movement could be so big and last so long.

3 Nov 2014 - 1:15pm 16 comments

Time for C.Y. Leung to take reality check

Tung Chee-hwa has come out in verbal support for Leung Chun-ying.

One hand cannot clap and in a democratic society, no government can succeed without the trust and support of the people.

27 Oct 2014 - 9:17am 42 comments

Sincerity is prerequisite for fruitful talks

Former US president Jimmy Carter said the government should at least "honour the students' spirit". Photo: AP

It has been increasingly clear that negotiation will be the only solution to peacefully end the Occupy Central movement. But what are the chances of the protesters and government reaching an agreement?

20 Oct 2014 - 7:11am 3 comments

What did Premier Li really try to say about Occupy Central?

If Li’s latest message is well received among Hongkongers and inside the government, the next step must be negotiations between the protesters and the government.

For the first time since the outbreak of the Occupy Central movement last month,  Premier Li Keqiang has offered some clues on how Beijing wants to see the pro-democracy protests brought to an end.

13 Oct 2014 - 6:21am 10 comments

Generalist or specialist?

The Main Building of University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Arts. Photo: SCMP

If you want to be a journalist, do you really need to study journalism for your first bachelor degree at university?

8 Oct 2014 - 4:13pm 1 comment

It's never too late to start talking

Demonstrators argue with each other outside the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong. Photo: Bloomberg

I'm struggling to imagine what could happen next in Hong Kong and what the worst case scenario could be over the next few days.

6 Oct 2014 - 10:22am 2 comments

Beijing's closed door meeting with Hong Kong tycoons erodes trust

Tycoons meet Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People. In the front row are K Wah Group's Lui Che-woo; Wharf's Peter Woo; Kerry Group's Robert Kuok; Henderson Land's Lee Shau-kee; Cheung Kong's Li Ka-shing; and former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. Photo: Joyce Ng

We all know how busy Chinese president Xi Jinping can be, so when he calls for a meeting, it must be top priority. For the richest Hong Kong tycoons, it is unusual to meet Xi in a group meeting, particularly to discuss politics rather than business.

29 Sep 2014 - 4:17am 15 comments

The tale of Alibaba and GSK a sign of China's rise on world stage

Many mainland media claimed the listing of Alibaba signalled a new era in which Chinese enterprises will challenge their American peers.

Alibaba celebrated its landmark US$21.8 billion listing in New York on Friday - the largest IPO in American history - on the same day that GlaxoSmithKline was hit by a record fine of US$500 million imposed by the central government.

22 Sep 2014 - 11:24am 2 comments

What’s so special about ‘Yale kids’?

File photo of the Branford College courtyard at Yale University. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Since I began my life and studies at Yale University, one question I have frequently been asked by friends in China is:  what’s so special about Yale?

25 Sep 2014 - 7:13pm 36 comments