The east China metropolis of Shanghai has once again drawn worldwide attention as senior executives of the world's financial giants gather for the 35th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Among the high-profile bankers and financiers are Stanley Fischer, vice-chairman of CitiGroup; Stuart Gulliver, general manager of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC); George Dallas, managing director of Standard & Poor; and dozens more from other major financial institutions.
Analysts here said that long before the present gathering, Shanghai had become known to international finance ministers, economists and financiers for its rapid development in the financial sector.
Seodradjad Djiwandono, visiting senior research fellow with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, told Xinhua that he is aware of Shanghai's efforts to become an international financial center in 15 to 20 years.
The former Indonesian central bank governor expressed the hope that Shanghai will attain the goal, though it will be a painstaking process.
Liu Ligang, a research fellow with the Tokyo-based ADB Institute, suggested that software development in the financial sector would help Shanghai become a major international financial hub.
Shanghai, the cradle of China's modern financial industry, was also a pioneer in the country's reform and opening up since the late 1970s.
Today it has China's first stock exchange, a gold exchange and nationwide inter-bank trading centers of Chinese and foreign currencies.
The city is also a gateway for many world-leading financial groups to enter the Chinese market. Most financial institutions attending this year's ADB meetings have set up branches in Shanghai. CitiGroup and HSBC have even moved their Asia-Pacific regional headquarters here.
Latest figures from the Shanghai Branch of the People's Bank of China show that by the end of March, the 50-odd foreign banks in Shanghai had over 170 billion yuan (20.5 billion U.S. dollars) of assets in Chinese and foreign currencies.
International financial delegates said Shanghai's attraction lies in its sound investment environment, good returns and rich resources for financial services.
(People's Daily May 10, 2002)