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

Ping An as seen by the media: tip-offs, denials and rows

Ping An as seen by the media: tip-offs, denials and rows. Photo: Reuters

The past week was hectic in terms of the news coverage of HSBC's deal to sell its stake in Ping An Insurance.

Monday, 14 January, 2013, 8:17am

Fashionistas' logo love affair shows big is beautiful in Hong Kong

Prada's store in Central. Photo: Bloomberg

It seems bigger is better when it comes to fashion labels and logos in Hong Kong.

You just need to do some so-called window shopping in Central to realise that Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo have got their branding down to an art form when it comes to the Asian consumer.

7 Jan 2013 - 9:04am 2 comments

Cash is a big bonus but there are other means of just reward

Will your year-end bonus be coming soon? (Photo: George Chen/SCMP)

This time of year, the annual bonus is the talk of the town. Expectations in banking circles are running high, but the talk itself is kept pretty low. That's because since the 2008 global financial crisis, rewarding bankers has become a particularly sensitive topic.

31 Dec 2012 - 8:55am

Asia's World City still has a few unique gifts, if you look hard

Also known as G.O.D., Goods of Desire is a lifestyle accessories chain store. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

With the holidays upon us, our minds turn to gift-giving and the struggle to find something appropriate.

When my friends from the mainland travel to Hong Kong, they often ask me what they should buy as souvenirs for their friends.

What they really want is something memorable that won't be found elsewhere. I always wrestle with an answer.

24 Dec 2012 - 10:23am

Hong Kong may have its own way around bankers' bonus caps

Andrew Sheng, chairman of Securities and Futures Commission. Photo: David Wong

To most people, Christmas means presents. But to the banking industry, this Christmas may be more about Scrooge than Santa, warnings than gifts.

17 Dec 2012 - 12:02pm

Will baijiu and casinos fall out of national favour in Xi era?

Kweichow Moutai (Photo: Company website)

China's stock market is often described by Chinese media as a playground for gamblers. It is rife with gossip and speculation, and subject to the vagaries of Chinese politics.

10 Dec 2012 - 11:47am

Shopping is good but ensure it does not become paradise lost

Shoppers browse shoes in a store at the Shilin market in Taipei. Photo: Bloomberg

Hong Kong enjoys a reputation around the world of being a "paradise for shopping" and I had my first taste of paradise in 2002, when the local dollar was stronger against the yuan.

Despite the more expensive currency, I remember a good shopping experience. I bought some clothes and cosmetics for my friends and parents on the mainland, and a laptop computer for myself.

3 Dec 2012 - 9:48am 6 comments

Asian trio the new hunting ground for job opportunities

Pudong New Area, Shanghai's financial district and China's would-be Wall Street (Photo: George Chen/SCMP)

"Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai or Bye-bye!" Remember that popular joke Western bankers passed around during the 2008 global financial crisis?

Fast forward four years. Now, Shanghai looks even brighter as far as financial industry jobs go, while Dubai and Mumbai are grappling with their individual economic woes.

26 Nov 2012 - 3:09pm

Storytellers pile into private equity as industry mushrooms

Is the private equity industry already crowded enough? Photo: George Chen/SCMP

What skills and experience does a person need to become a private equity professional?

Compared with traditional financial businesses such as banking and insurance, private equity has a very brief history in China. However, many financial professionals feel the private equity industry on the mainland has already become very crowded within just a few years.

19 Nov 2012 - 9:53am 1 comment

Will James Bond bow to Beijing's censorship?

Daniel Craig, star of Skyfall, which is expected to entrance viewers and enrage Beijing. Photo: AFP

Will James Bond decide that discretion is the better part of valour and kowtow to the Chinese government to avoid endangering Skyfall’s potentially huge box office in the Communist nation?

12 Nov 2012 - 11:14pm 6 comments

Family, faith and hard work keep Hong Kong dream alive

The Hong Kong dream: a Shanghai immigrant survived and prospered in Hong Kong, adapting to the city by opening one of the first 24/7 restaurant in Causeway Bay.

My previous column about one man's "Hong Kong dream" and how it had been affected by the city's new property tax apparently proved to be something that not everyone agreed on. Some readers doubt if Hong Kong will ever be the Asian version of the American dream.

12 Nov 2012 - 7:05am 6 comments

The impact of politics on stock prices

Photo: Reuters

Will the upcoming 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China affect Chinese stock market investors? Don’t hold your breath.

7 Nov 2012 - 8:44pm

New property tax a blow to the Hong Kong dream

New property tax a blow to the Hong Kong dream

We all know about the American dream. But let me tell you about a Hong Kong dream.

I have a friend. Let's just call him J.

5 Nov 2012 - 8:03am 10 comments

How to beat the new property tax?

Hong Kong’s new property regime is already inspiring ingenious countermeasures from non-residents looking to buy in one of the world’s priciest real estate markets. Photo: AFP

Remember the saying? “Man proposes - God disposes.” China has a variation on that.  Basically it says that higher-ups set out policy and the rest of the population then proceed to circumvent the new policy. That’s exactly what’s happening in Hong Kong right now.

31 Oct 2012 - 6:35pm 2 comments

New Hong Kong property tax, a sign of increasing protectionism

City Garden, a local apartment complex in North Point (Photo: George Chen/SCMP)

The new stamp duty policy announced last Friday for non-local home buyers in Hong Kong is more than a new property rule as it puts the government on the fast track to greater regulation in a city that has been ranked as the world’s freest economy by the Heritage Foundation for 18 consecutive years.

30 Oct 2012 - 10:06am 5 comments