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Shanghai: A Metropolitan Paradise
2004/10/26
The charm of a city is usually based on either its long history or its current, splendid achievements. Shanghai, however, is fortunate enough to possess both.


To experience the city's past, you should visit the Bund by the Huangpu River. Looking out into the distance, you will see 52 buildings of Gothic, Baroque, Roman, classical, renaissance, or east-meets-west styles, giving a graceful skyline to the river's west bank. Row upon row of these buildings have not only witnessed the bitter days of war, but have also witnessed Shanghai's development from a riverside town in the 1930s to a metropolis nicknamed the Venice of the East.


To feel the pulse of the city's rapid development, a visit to the Bund is necessary. Looking far across to the Huangpu River's other bank, you will find countless skyscrapers in Lujiazui, which used to be the city's largest slum. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower, known as Asia's highest building, is a symbol of the city's determination to become international. The Jinmao Mansion, with an architectural style of a traditional Chinese quadrangle pagoda, points upwards into the clouds. The International Convention Center, the Super Brand Mall, and other ongoing constructions in the city offer architects from around the world the opportunity to realize their marvelous ideas and concepts.


Shanghai, to some extent, is a showcase of China's cities, and stands out from all the rest.
Their long experience of doing business with foreigners has taught Shanghaiers to obey international practices. Although such obedience to rules makes them appear, at times, lacking in human kindness, it is a practice that is vital for a city's sustainable development.


So far, Shanghai is home to 300 out of the Global Top 500 Enterprises listed by Fortune magazine. While 100 of these enterprises have set up multinational R&D centers, over 70 have moved their regional headquarters to the city. All roads in the world lead to Shanghai, and the city has been internationalized in every aspect. The municipal government has formulated many favorable policies to attract overseas students and senior experts. Among the enterprises that have been established by returned overseas students, half have settled in Shanghai.


Shanghai was not built in one day. Behind its tremendous prosperity is the painstaking endeavor of numerous Shanghaiers.


It has long been concluded that Shanghaiers are shrewd. Their shrewdness is shown not only on the negotiation table, but also in their bid to host the 2010 World Expo.


Shanghaiers are also diligent. Within 100 years, they have built Shanghai, which was once a small county seat, into the world's fifth largest metropolis. Thanks to their efforts, the city has preserved its status as China's economic center over the past century.


Not as they were once judged, Shanghaiers are now open-minded. Located on the shores of both the Changjiang (Yangtze) River and the vast East China Sea, Shanghai was destined to open to the outside world. Conceptually, Shanghaiers include not only the old residents of Shikumen, but also the newcomers now dedicated to the city's prosperity and the foreigners who often leisurely sip tea and enjoy the city's endless charm on Hengshan Road. No one can deny that these outsiders are also bearers of Shanghai's spirit.


Shanghaiers are also fashionable. A fashionable city can inspire its people with the desire to consume, both physically and mentally. The city is now a paradise for the Bobo, the bourgeois, and white-collar workers. Even though it is modern, Shanghai fashion includes elements reminiscent of the past, such as the Bund, Xintiandi, Zhang Ailing (a famous woman writer), Shikumen, old streets, the 1930s, old movies, Zhou Xuan (a famous movie star), and the endless charm of the East.

This is Shanghai-- unique and all-embracing.
If you live in Shanghai, you live in paradise.


The First Individual Stock Investor in China

Profile:
Yang Huaiding, a former worker in the Shanghai Ferrous Alloy Plant, earned his "first bucket of gold" in 1998 through treasury-bond trade, and was nicknamed Millionaire Yang.
Yang has the shrewdness and awareness especially typical of the people of Shanghai and Zhejiang Province. He is a noteworthy personage in China's securities history, and his experience reflects China's transition from a planned economy to a market economy. His story has been published in many Chinese and foreign magazines, including Time and Newsweek magazines.

Yang is known as:
China's first individual to be engaged in block trading of treasury bonds in other jurisdictions;
China's first individual to consult the People's Bank of China about securities transactions;
China's first individual to consult tax authorities about tax policies;
China's first person to hire a private attorney;
and China's first private investor to be appointed a professor by a university.

(The following is a record of China Pictorial's interview with Mr. Yang Huaiding)

China Pictorial (hereafter "CP"): How did you earn your first million yuan?

Mr. Yang Huaiding (hereafter "Yang"): We were permitted to trade treasury bonds on the market on April 21, 1988. I entered the market with 20,000 yuan as my capital. My original aim was to find some flexible methods to speed up the reform of state-owned enterprises.

CP: At the beginning, you invested in securities and treasury bonds instead of stocks. So, when did you enter the stock market?

Yang: On July 1, 1988.

CP: It took you only three months to shift your investment to the stock market. Did you invest the entire one million yuan that you had earned from treasury-bond transactions in the stock market?

Yang: No, I bought 200,000 shares. At the time, stock dividends were guaranteed by a certain range of rates. I could earn some 30,000 yuan from the dividends of the stocks I bought. The average salary was about 70 yuan per month, so I could live an easy life with 2,500 yuan a month. But, I am abstemious, and that was enough for me to have food to eat. One should apply a happy-go-lucky attitude when pursuing fortune, although it's a hard attitude to put into practice.

CP: Has your life changed since your remarkable success in the stock market?

Yang: Not much. What has changed is my way of thinking. Today we live in an information era. From beginning to end, I am just a stock investor.

CP: I've heard that you have taken an active part in social activities. For example, you have shared your experience in the stock market with other private investors through the media.

Yang: I swore that I would help private stock investors across China with my 12 years experience. I initiated a column entitled Topics of Private Investors in some professional newspapers and magazines, such as the Sichuan Stock News. Also, I often travel around to exchange experiences with other stock investors.

CP: An article once described one of your days: "He is the most diligent person. In 1988, he entered the stock market by buying Vacuum Electronics' shares. From then on, he has been a single-minded stock investor. He gets up at 8:00 a.m. every morning, and then turns on the radio to listen to the financial news. At 9:15 a.m., he turns on the computer and checks out the stock indexes. From 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., it's time for a lunch break. From 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., he checks out the stock indexes once more. Then, he consults stock matters on the Internet. He goes to bed at 5:00 p.m. and sleeps until 10:00 p.m., after which he checks out the market with an automatic stock-selecting system for two or three hours.

Yang: That's exactly how I spend my days. Now we can trade stocks through the Internet, mobile phones, and portable computers. But, years ago, I had to go to the stock exchange.

CP: Do you still think of yourself as a private investor?

Yang: Besides institutional investors, there are private investors participating in the stock market. I am only the team leader of a trade union of private investors.

1. Yang visits a securities company as the representative of the stock investors.
2. Yang lectures around China, sharing his success and experience.
3. The small room is where Yang has created one after another miracle on the stock market.


Shanghai's New Immigrants Fall in Love

Xu Donghui never expected to be able to return to Shanghai and start a family just four years after graduating from college.

A native of Zhejiang Province, Xu worked in Fujian Province after he graduated from the Shanghai Jiaotong University. In 1992, Shanghai's policy of accelerating the construction of the Pudong area triggered his dream of returning to Shanghai. At the time, there was a wealth of job opportunities in Pudong, but Xu was not eager to find a job, and instead, decided to take up further study.

After two years of study, he graduated with a Master's Degree in Business Administration (MBA). Then, he was hired by a Singapore-based bank, and has now been promoted to department manager. His office is in the Lujiazui Financial and Trade Zone, known as the "Manhattan of Shanghai."
According to Xu, however, his greatest fortune in Shanghai is finding his wife.

Three years ago, Xu met Chen, a girl from Sichuan Province working with an auditing firm. Their similar experiences kindled the flame of love, and before long, this pair of new immigrants to Shanghai tied the knot.

Xu is a soccer fan. So, after they got married, attending soccer games became their major pastime. Xu sometimes plays soccer, but because of his thin body, he mostly acts as a substitute player. Chen, however, is proud of her husband whenever he stands on the soccer pitch in his player's shirt.
A year ago, their son was born. When he held his child for the first time, Xu felt a deep sense of pride and responsibility. The couple broke with traditional Chinese naming convention and gave their son the surname Chen, after Xu's wife. In his opinion, a name is nothing more than a symbol, and what counts is family happiness. The little baby seems especially intimate with his father. Holding his son in his arms, while retracing the places they dated before marrying, Xu feels happy and content.

He has recently bought a new house, which has three bedrooms. The couple has successively accomplished their dreams of starting a career, getting married, and purchasing a house--a life that everyone who moves to Shanghai aspires to.

Xu and his wife represent a typical love story of Shanghai's new generation of immigrants. It is said that one out of every three people living in Shanghai is an outsider. Shanghai has thus distinguished itself as a city of immigrants.

Dating on the Bund


The Bund is a harbor of lovers. Few people in Shanghai doubt this, and Tan Bosi, a young man from Germany, seems to have a deeper understanding of it all.

It was by chance that Tan came to Shanghai three years ago. At the time, he was working as a mechanical engineer at the headquarters of the Opel Corporation. The company was looking for a technician for the Shanghai General Motors Co., Ltd., so Tan applied for the position, although he had just returned from a stint in the United States. Only three weeks later, he arrived in Shanghai. Before him was not only a strange culture, but also a beautiful girl who was fated to come into his life.

One day, about six months after his arrival in Shanghai, Tan went to the Ireland Bar with his colleagues for a New Year's celebration. When the clock struck midnight, the bar was overwhelmed with joyful crowds. Tan and his companions raised their glasses, drinking a toast to the New Year. Suddenly, he caught sight of a girl coming down the stairs. When the girl's eyes met his, she nodded to him politely, with a smile on her face. He finally found a chance to approach her, but because he was slightly nervous he was only able to ask one question, "May I dance with you?" They then slowly made their way to the dance floor. They were both immediately taken with each other, probably because of the special atmosphere of the New Year's party, or the good feeling they had in their hearts.

Afterwards, Tan began to date the girl frequently. They liked to spend their time at coffee shops on the Bund, which offer a panoramic view of the Pudong area and witness countless mixed-couples. Such an atmosphere nourished their affection. He admired her for her elegant bearing, fluent English, and enterprising spirit. She was fascinated by his honest and kindhearted personality, his rich, breathtaking travels, the radiant smile on his innocent face . . . .

On a sunny spring day, more than two years later, they held a grand wedding ceremony in Shanghai. When the German groom, in his red Chinese-style wedding suit, was asked about their love story, he turned to his bride with deep affection and said, "If it was fate that drove me to meet her when the New Year's bell rang, it is love that drives me to unveil her head cover today!"

The Bund has witnessed the love affair of a couple. Similar stories like theirs abound on the Bund.

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