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

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.

Friday, 6 September, 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

Facebook and Twitter go live in China - but only for Chengdu business forum

Facebook and Twitter can be accessed from the media centre at the Fortune forum in Chengdu. Photo: George Chen

Facebook and Twitter, the world’s two largest real-time social media network services, finally went live in China, but only in one small location and for the next few days.

29 Aug 2013 - 4:13am

Film reveals Chinese dream for Hong Kong's financial community

Director Peter Chan (second right) and his cast members attend a launch event for the movie "American Dreams in China" in Hangzhou. Photo: Xinhua

Many would have noticed that in China the main government slogan is not about "building a harmonious society" any more. It's now about achieving the "Chinese dream" - the concept new leader Xi Jinping has been promoting since he took office.

3 Jun 2013 - 10:17am 2 comments

Whatever their reputation, people still want to be bankers

Andrew Sheng, former chairman of the Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission. Photo: May Tse

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People say the reputation of the financial industry has been badly damaged in the five years since the 2008 global economic crisis. But interest in a job in the industry has not faded, especially among the younger generation.

27 May 2013 - 8:09pm

For HSBC, the first love is apparently not the deepest

Bank of Shanghai may have been HSBC's original mainland partner, but Stuart Gulliver seems happy to snub it for a more recent tie-up. Photo: AP

Remember that old saying: in business, there are no friends, no enemies, but only "interests"? Well, last week, HSBC's chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, gave the saying fresh meaning when talking about his bank's two partners in China.

20 May 2013 - 7:12am 1 comment

ICAC probe of ex-boss may turn into a blockbuster

Alec Tsui (right) revisits his ICAC roots in Cold War, a Hong Kong film. Photo: supplied

I’ve often remarked that all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. That may not be exactly how I phrased it, but it sums it up. Take a bow, William Shakespeare, who wrote down the enduring lines centuries before the drama I’m referring to started playing out to an enthralled Hong Kong audience.

16 May 2013 - 2:46pm 6 comments

Don't just blame pollution for the flood of fleeing expats

Don't just blame pollution for the flood of fleeing expats

I think I have read more than enough about why some expatriates have decided to leave the mainland and why now. Articles and blogs are awash with complaints pointing to the worsening air pollution as the main cause.

Does all this really suggest that the mainland is losing its attractiveness? Is air pollution really the most important reason for them to consider leaving?

13 May 2013 - 9:17am 30 comments

Avian visitor curries favour with Hong Kong

Hong Kong people have taken to their latest giant visitor like a duck to water. Photo: George Chen

That duck - don’t pretend you don’t know the one I’m talking about - is the talk of the town.

7 May 2013 - 11:47am

Winners aplenty in Hong Kong's job market

Winners aplenty in Hong Kong's job market

Is Hong Kong's job market now a "buyer's market" or a "seller's market"? Most people would answer by complaining about how hard it is to find a good job in the city. But once you speak to human resources experts, you find the reality may not be so simple.

6 May 2013 - 6:45am 1 comment

Xi makes The Economist cover again, but Beijing's censors are unimpressed

A combination photo of the two The Economist covers with Xi Jinping.

For the second time in just over six months, China’s president, Xi Jinping, is gracing the cover of The Economist, although Beijing appears unimpressed and unamused.

3 May 2013 - 1:56pm 18 comments

For senior and young, Hong Kong job market may be healthier than you think

In Hong Kong, 95 percent of financial industry employers say it is still challenging for them to find skilled financial services professionals. Photo: SCMP

Is Hong Kong’s job market now a ‘seller’s market’ or ‘buyer’s market’?

The reaction from most to this question will naturally be to complain about the difficulties in finding good jobs in Hong Kong. But when you speak to some human resources experts, the answer may not be as simple as you think.

1 May 2013 - 3:03pm