China's No 1 Building Gets New Security

Starting later this month, people entering the office area of the Chinese mainland's highest building will have to wear a special security tag to get through a new security system.

Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai has become the first office building in the mainland to use a system controlling access to its doors.

"The system will keep out people who don't belong and enable us to know how many people are in the building and where they are,'' said Ruan Zhenji, engineering director of Jin Mao Group Co.

He said he often received complains from tenants here about strange visitors or salesmen and began planning to install the security system more than a year ago.

The plan was delayed when 60 per cent of tenants surveyed in June didn't think it was a good idea because of the inconvenience to invited visitors. But many of them changed their mind after the September 11 US terrorist attacks, and Ruan's firm was back in business.

Ruan said foreign tenants are especially supportive of the project.

The 1.6 million yuan (US$193,000) project is expected to be finished at the end of this month. All four gateways to the building will be equipped with 13 access-controlled doors.

The 4,000-plus staff in the office building will be issued a long-term card.

Visitors will have to show their identification cards or passports to get a temporary tag at an automatic machine before being allowed into the office area.

"The whole process only takes about 20 seconds and won't cause much trouble to our visitors,'' Ruan said.

The system allows 540 people to enter the building every minute and won't jam the gates even during peak hours, Ruan said.

"Safety is always our primary concern,'' he said. "We would like our tenants to know that the safer they are, the more freedoms they can enjoy.''

When the 420.5-metre-high Jin Mao Tower was made available for tenants in 1999, US$24 million had been poured into safety controls including fire protection, 300 cameras and four 24-hour monitor centres.

So far, more than 80 percent of the 120,000-square-metre office area from the third floor to 50th floor has been rented to more than 80 companies such as financial institutions, law firms, high-tech companies and the Shanghai Diamond Exchange.

( China Daily March 6, 2002)

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