chapter  10
16 Pages

From ‘Paris of the East’ to ‘New York of Asia’? The (re)development of Shanghai as a financial centre

ByKAREN LAI

Introduction Popularly known as ‘Paris of the East’, Shanghai was Asia’s most successful financial centre in the early twentieth century, notable for its receptiveness to international capital and influence. In the early 1990s, there was a consensus in Beijing that Shanghai was strategically important for China to succeed on the international stage. With the backing of the central government, the city embarked on an urbanization programme focused on promoting the tertiary sector. Shanghai’s Pudong New Area (the largest Special Economic zone (SEz) in China) is a key initiative in developing Shanghai’s international financial and business capacities. Within Pudong, the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone (LFTZ) is envisaged to be a revitalized central business district for Shanghai with particular emphasis on financial services, retail, real estate, business consulting and government services. In promotional materials, the LFTz is to become the ‘Manhattan of 21st century Shanghai’ (Yeh 1996; Olds 1997) and ‘China’s Wall Street’ (Wu 1999).