Shanghai should emerge as a major competitor to Hong Kong as a financial centre when China joins the World Trade Organisation, according to Supachai Panitchpakdi, its incoming director-general. He told a British Chamber of Commerce lunch yesterday that the SAR had a ready-made infrastructure and its financial services would be in great demand once China joined. But, there would be competition in the financial services sector from the mainland. 'Hong Kong stands to gain in terms of development of real estate and the participation of Hong Kong companies . . . but where they will have to compete more will be with an emergence of new financial centres and I think Shanghai should emerge as a major financial competitor,' he said. Mr Supachai, a former deputy prime minister of Thailand, replaces Mike Moore as WTO chief in September next year. Hong Kong economists and business figures have previously forecast the emergence of centres such as Shanghai once Hong Kong potentially loses its 'window to China' status. Mr Supachai said China's accession would have a far-reaching impact on the region for countries which made preparations for such change. 'Southeast Asia . . . will be losing some market share but hopefully there will be new market shares opening up in China,' he said. 'But only those that are best prepared will be able to gain benefits from this.' Mr Supachai said another consequence of China's accession would be a stabilisation of global economic conditions. The world economy had been driven by unprecedented growth in the United States and 'this is not good enough'. 'As a major economy, China could help to stabilise the world's economic conditions,' he said, predicting market share growing from 3.5 per cent to 7 per cent in five years' time. Mr Supachai told the business gathering his aim as the new WTO chief was to strengthen the global group to benefit all participants. Protesters have blamed the globalisation of big business for child labour and environmental problems in developing countries. 'There can be no conclusion of agreement if there are losers and there are winners . . . my position is that there must always be winners, otherwise you cannot have a trade agreement that is acceptable to all members,' he said. In the past, the WTO did not always have equal partners at the negotiating table, he said. 'I think for the next round, we cannot allow this to persist.'