Shanghai gaining favor with wealthy as financial center

Shanghai gaining favor with wealthy as financial center
Different values of China's yuan banknotes are placed on a window sill as Shanghai's skyscrapers are seen in the background, in this photo illustration taken in Shanghai in this April 15, 2012 file photo.

SHANGHAI - Shanghai has overtaken Hong Kong and Singapore to become the world's fifth most important financial centre, and Beijing is considered the second most influential political city, in a survey that gauges the importance of global cities.

The joint study, by leading international property consultancy Knight Frank LLP and Bank of China International Ltd, said Shanghai - which is striving to become Asia's top financial centre - had passed its two most traditional Asian rivals, who have slipped to 7th and 8th respectively.

New York, London, Tokyo and Paris take the top four spots as financial centers, said the report, while the Chinese capital Beijing is second only to the US capital Washington DC in terms of political importance.

The Wealth Report 2013 gathered the views of 15,000 people with at least US$30 million (S$37.3 million) in net assets - which it called "high net worth individuals" - gauging attitudes in four areas: economic activity, political power, quality of life, and knowledge and influence.

Other top-tier mainland cities featured in the survey include Guangzhou and Shenzhen, which Liam Bailey, the head of residential research with Knight Frank, said he expected to see grow strongly in global importance over the next few years.

The study ranked Beijing at 15th overall this year, with Shanghai at 24th, according to the report.

"By 2023, our survey of high net worth individuals will show Shanghai and Beijing joining the top 10 at the expense of Geneva and Paris," said Bailey.

Commenting on the results, Qi Xiaozhai, director of the Shanghai Commercial Economic Research Center, said he thought the two Chinese cities should have higher positions, given their rising lifestyles.

Beijing is still 40th in terms of life quality, and Shanghai is 39th, said the report.

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