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Saturday, Oct 31, 2020

Why Shenzhen’s future as a global financial centre looks bright

Why Shenzhen’s future as a global financial centre looks bright

Why Shenzhen, next door to Hong Kong, is poised to be the new global financial star
Forty-eight years ago, what I saw in Shenzhen was just a rundown provision shop selling nothing but eggs, preserved plums and firecrackers. It took 40 years to become a formidable financial centre in Asia. Shenzhen is still a newcomer compared to London, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich and Singapore. But it has some clear advantages (“Wake-up call for Hong Kong as Xi Jinping sets new tasks for future of Shenzhen ”, October 14).

First, it is an extremely safe cosmopolitan city and on the whole it is clean and green. Second, the cost of living is affordable. A serviced two-room flat with kitchen, washing machine and dryer and daily cleaning usually costs no more than US$100 per day. A decent meal for four won’t set you back by more than US$50 and no value-added tax or tips need to be paid.

Good quality office space is easily available and, if you are working alone, the cost of working one afternoon is usually no more than a cup of coffee or a glass of beer at an exclusive five star hotel lounge.

Some people are concerned about information accessibility and online censorship. In fact, via your mobile phone, you can have access to news websites like CNN and CNBC, and if you are already a subscriber, there’s no problem reading other top Western publications. Maybe they could reach more young readers in China if the subscription fees could be paid via WeChat.

Shenzhen has overcome the coronavirus pandemic and life has been back to normal for six months. In the long run, the city is well positioned to attract more top notch international schools, universities and finance experts. Apart from full-scale academic institutions, seminar-style set-ups in shared offices will become increasingly popular.

It takes a generation to build an international cosmopolitan city. It will take another generation to build a truly global financial centre.
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