MR. SHANGKONG | South China Morning Post
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  • Apr 18, 2015
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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

Chinese firms in Hong Kong may be new paradises for 'princelings'

The JP Morgan case attracted attention on the mainland where the public is already angry about corruption within the ruling party. Photo: Reuters

It's a season of change in Hong Kong. Change what? Quietly changing jobs for some important people. The US government announced last month that it would investigate JP Morgan's Hong Kong hiring practices relating to job offers for children of some important people on the mainland, and as a result, several such "important kids" working for other foreign banks are now seriously considering new jobs.

Monday, 16 September, 2013, 7:20am 2 comments

Luxury brands and high rents threaten old Hong Kong's character

An antique shop on Hollywood Road. Photo: SCMP

I live on Hollywood Road, which has been known as "antique street" for many years, thanks to all the antique and artwork shops scattered around the area. However, I am not sure if the street will keep its unique character in the years to come.

9 Sep 2013 - 6:56am 3 comments

Hope highlights the divide between Hong Kong and Shanghai

Optimism among locals in Shanghai is palpable. Photo: Bloomberg

People always like to compare Hong Kong and Shanghai, partly due to the interplay between the two cities since the 1940s, when many wealthy Shanghai families relocated to Hong Kong.

2 Sep 2013 - 7:36am 2 comments

Why the children of many important people are in Hong Kong

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.

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.

26 Aug 2013 - 6:47am 10 comments

Hong Kong's prospects bright even with competition from Shanghai

George Chen, Financial Services Editor of SCMP; Albert Ng, Regional Managing Partner of EY Greater China; Benjamin Hung, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong), John Slosar, Chief Executive Of Cathay Pacific Airways; Chan Ka-keung, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury and Vincent Lo, Chairman of Shui On Group attend the forum "The Role of Hong Kong as the Ever-Evolving Gateway to and for China" at Admiralty. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

If you have read this column every Monday over the past year, I guess you would feel that we have talked quite a lot about the historic and present-day interplay of Shanghai and Hong Kong. That's exactly why the column is called "Mr. Shangkong".

19 Aug 2013 - 8:13am 3 comments

Now Hong Kong becomes the place to put a few assets in the trolley

Li Ka-shing decided to put one of the city's most popular supermarket chains, ParknShop, up for sale.

Hong Kong has long been known as a shopping paradise, in particular among fashion-conscious women. But lately it's more than just fashion that is on offer, as a growing number of billion-dollar family businesses have been put up for sale.

12 Aug 2013 - 12:29pm 1 comment

Hong Kong need not fret too much, for now, about northern pretender

Hong Kong need not fret too much, for now, about northern pretender

When Beijing announced last month its landmark plan to create a Hong Kong-like free-trade zone in Shanghai, many people, including myself, naturally felt Hong Kong's position as one of the world's leading financial centres could be further weakened.

5 Aug 2013 - 7:50am 5 comments

Connections trump everything in world of private equity in China

Connections trump everything in world of private equity

Private equity doesn't have a long history in China, but it has grabbed attention over the past few years, partly because of the individuals standing behind the businesses. In other words, people are key in China. I mean, well, those special people.

29 Jul 2013 - 7:45am 1 comment

Hotlines spring up for China VIPs to buy luxury goods amid anti-graft drive

A shopping mall in Shanghai. Photo: Xinhua

I was back in Shanghai for a quick trip recently and dropped by several big shopping centres on Nanjing Road, one of the mainland's busiest streets. Ironically, these shopping centres - and, in particular, the big luxury brand shops inside - didn't look busy at all. They were almost empty.

22 Jul 2013 - 7:25am 2 comments

Shanghai is shop window showcase for Likonomics

Premier Li Keqiang announced the central government would create the mainland's first free-trade zone in Shanghai. Photos: Xinhua

Shanghai, once dubbed "the Paris of the Orient", has had its share of ups and downs. In recent years, its status, within China and beyond, has been unsteady, in particular after a former top official in the city was jailed.

6 Sep 2013 - 8:03am

Shanghai's free-trade zone puts Hong Kong's future in the spotlight

Shanghai's free-trade zone puts Hong Kong's future in the spotlight

Will the new Shanghai free-trade zone be a game changer? This question popped up in my mind when I read the breaking news on Wednesday evening about Beijing’s landmark approval to set up a free-trade zone in Shanghai.

6 Sep 2013 - 8:06am 24 comments

Qianhai and Hong Kong: like Canary Wharf and the City of London?

Zhang Bei. Photo: Edward Wong

First, Shanghai. And now, Qianhai! Which other cities are waiting to join the competition with Hong Kong? Last week, I went to Qianhai, the small but important development zone in Shenzhen, for an interview with Zhang Bei, Qianhai's top boss.

6 Sep 2013 - 10:37am 1 comment

Shanghai lacks self-confidence in how it restricts news of Taiwan bookstore

Eslite Bookstore in Hong Kong

I like Taipei. The city may not be as modern and fashionable as Hong Kong or Shanghai, but it has something that the other two cities may have already lost. The thing is called culture.

24 Jun 2013 - 8:20am 3 comments

Breathe easy, smog is not key issue facing China recruiters

Heavy haze in Beijing's central business district. Photo: Reuters

Is air pollution really the most important reason some foreign executives are considering for leaving China? Let’s continue the debate. Recently I wrote a column about the topic after several foreigners wrote blog posts or articles about why they left China. Some said the worsening air pollution in Beijing or Shanghai was their top concern.

17 Jun 2013 - 7:52am 1 comment

Chengdu event shows quest for big numbers hard to shake

Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli delivers a speech at the gala dinner for the opening of the 2013 Fortune Global Forum. Photo: Xinhua

For Chengdu, last week proved to be a busy one, and perhaps also cause for celebration by business. But for the rest of the China, it was rather disastrous in terms of how many lives of ordinary Chinese people were lost in various accidents.

10 Jun 2013 - 10:09am