Is Shanghai en route to becoming Asia’s New York?

02 Oct 2018

Shanghai skylineJapan, Hong Kong and Singapore have long been considered as top financial centres in their region, but could Shanghai be on its way to stealing that title?

According to the world’s biggest sovereign-wealth fund, it very well might be.

Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive officer of Norway’s $1 trillion fund, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in New York: “In all of the regions with regard to time zones, you need to have a strong financial centre, and of course in the U.S. it’s New York, and London’s going to be the one for Europe. The question then, of course, is where in Asia do you put up most of your efforts? We have a Shanghai office - kind of looking at that as long-term positioning.”

Slyngstad went on to say that Shanghai could become the natural commercial capital of Asia in the long-term, but also noted that Beijing and Hong Kong are strong competitors. This does, however, open up a discussion on Shanghai’s potential as a global financial influence.

Shanghai’s economy surpassed that of Hong Kong in 2009, but capital controls have inhibited its expansion in international finance, according to an article by Bloomberg.

The latest global financial centres index by Z/Yen – which ranks cities based on several factors that include regulations, wages and infrastructure – named Shanghai the fifth best financial centre worldwide. New York was crowned first, with London following in second place. Hong Kong and Singapore won third and fourth place respectively.