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"Financial city" is taking shape
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09:53, February 04, 2009

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Shanghai's recent plan to further escalate the role of its Lujiazui financial and trade zone is good news for financial talents from home and abroad, but a prudent approach and adequate screening is "especially necessary", warned an economist on Tuesday.

In a working report to the Shanghai local people's congress last month, Mayor Han Zheng said the city will "enhance the construction of Lujiazui financial city" as part of its plan to build itself into a world financial center like New York and London.

Analysts said the concept of "Lujiazui financial city" conveys the clear message of the city's determination in its march toward a world financial hub, instead of terming Lujiazui as a "financial and trade zone" as in the past.

Lujiazui will house over 600 financial institutions, such as banks, securities and insurance firms, with the total number of financial professionals exceeding 200,000 by the end of 2010, two and a half times the current 80,000 workforce, according to the 11th Five-year Plan (2006-10) stipulated by the Pudong district government.

A graduate fills in a job application at a Shanghai job fair to seek employment in Lujiazui financial city. (Photo: China Daily)

The plan says that by 2010, Lujiazui will become a key cluster of financial institutions, funds and talents, and will serve as China's pilot area for financial innovation and standard-setting.

This will create ample working opportunities for domestic and overseas professionals, especially during a time when many are losing their jobs due to the global financial crisis.

However, "Shanghai should seek its own mode in obtaining its goal and absorb talents that we really need, especially at the time that the global economic recession hasn't yet bottomed out," professor Lu Hongjun, president of Shanghai Institute of International Finance, told China Daily yesterday.

Lu, who first raised the idea of "Lujiazui financial city" with the municipal government in 2004, said Shanghai is currently thirsty for such talents as banking liquidity and risk controllers, IT professionals for the banking sector, and those in the private equity (PE) sector.

"There is no point in simply following the mode of Wall Street in the US, where a lot of employees in investment banks such as Lehman Brothers were laid off due to bankruptcy," said Lu.

Since late last year, Pudong has mapped out a series of preferential policies to lure more financial talents, including a personal income tax cut, and a plan to build 10,000 apartments for banking professionals aged between 22 and 30.

Wang Kairong, vice-director of Pudong's personnel department, told Shanghai-based China Business News recently that such policies will exert some temporary effect in luring high-end talents, and called for a comprehensive policy support to help them solve problems such as the high cost of living and the lack of adequate education for their kids in Shanghai.

Finance has long been a pillar sector in Pudong. Statistics show that last year, total added-value from the financial sector in Pudong surpassed 50 billion yuan, accounting for 17 percent of Pudong's gross domestic product.

Source: China Daily

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