Trade zone to complement Hong Kong, not replace it

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 9, 2013
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[By Zhai Haijun/]

[By Zhai Haijun/] 

Surveying the media hype surrounding the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ), officially launched on September 29, it is fair to say that most of the ruckus is coming from Hong Kong.

A few naysayers have gone as far as to sound the death knell for Hong Kong, albeit a little prematurely, warning that a Shanghai with an FTZ poses a serious threat to the island financial paradise.

These were the same voices warning of a decade ago of Hong Kong’s imminent demise when China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO).

However, most analysts who talked to Xinhua, both on the mainland and in Hong Kong, disagree.

It is true that Shanghai and Hong Kong probably cannot avoid competing with each other in the offshore financial services marketplace, especially over yuan business, but such competition will mean a bigger business cake for all, not smaller crumbs.

The roles and functions of the two cities are very different in the country’s overall financial layout.

The Shanghai FTZ is essential from China’s financial reform and trade perspectives. It is consistent with the long-term goal of strengthening the services sector.

Hong Kong’s business community would be well advised to prepare to seize the business opportunities the Shanghai FTZ will bring.

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