CORPORATE Japan has joined a consortium led by developer Mori Building to put up the world's tallest building in Shanghai. Thirty-five other companies - on the list of who's who in Japan's corporate world - and a Japanese government agency are taking up equity stakes to build the US$750 million Shanghai World Finance Centre. 'This is the first time so many Japanese companies have taken stakes in a single building project in Japan, China or anywhere else,' said Minoru Mori, Mori Building's president. They are city, long-term credit, trust and regional banks; life insurance, marine and fire insurance companies; securities houses; trading houses; and telecommunications firms. Among them are Bank of Tokyo, Mitsubishi Bank, Sumitomo Bank, Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, Nippon Life Insurance, Nikko Capital, Daiwa Securities, Itochu Corp, Mitsui & Co and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone. These companies will move into the complex as tenants when it is ready in 2001. Mr Mori said he was looking for multinational corporations to invest in this building and it was easier to garner corporate support from Japan than from Western investors. 'Companies in the West tend to have a different view on the recovery of profit,' Mr Mori said, adding that the complex could take as long as 10 years to show profit. Mori has the largest share of 30 per cent in the commercial, hotel and office complex, while the 35 companies and the government Overseas Economic Co-operationFund will take up 60 per cent. The remaining 10 per cent will go to Asian and American investors. Earlier there was talk that the Japanese developer was negotiating with American companies to take a bigger stake to accommodate a Chinese preference. But this did not work out. 'We are prepared to reduce our shareholding if more multinational companies want to take part in this project,' Mr Mori said. Shimizu Corp has won the contract to start building the complex at the end of next year or in early 1997. The building will offer 3.41 million sq ft over 95 floors. Three of the floors will be underground. When completed, it will be the world's tallest building at 460 metres, topping Sears Tower in Chicago (443 metres) and the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (452 metres) being built in Malaysia. Mr Mori shrugged off worries over excessive office supply in Shanghai in the next few years, saying the city was an emerging and vibrant market and could absorb more office developments. He said the complex would become a symbol of Shanghai's push to turn Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone in Pudong into an Asian financial centre by early next century. Mori Building is also developing the 46-storey Shanghai Senmao International Building in Lujiazui, which will be ready by the spring of 1998. Lujiazui, along with the famous Bund across the Huangpu River, is touted as the city's central business district. Pudong authorities are trying to install advanced telecommunications networks and other infrastructure in Lujiazui to support its financial role.