August 5, 2011


Having been to various fascinating places over the last few years the end of July saw Dave and I in the most fascinating of them all – Shanghai. WOW! With a population of 19 million the scale is just mind boggling – as Dave said ‘a bit like stepping onto the front cover of a sci-fi novel’. One of the most impressive areas, Pudong, was a field 20 years ago – now its skyscraper central, resembling the Hong Kong waterfront.

Why were we there? – well it looks like we might be setting up a local operation in Shanghai to complement our London and Moscow offices. We met with loads of people during our short 5 day trip, which included a 24 hour whistle stop tour of Wuhan, a provincial city with the same population as Central London! Thanks to everyone for your hospitality and advice. We learned a huge amount, least of all how determined, hard working and ambitious the Chinese people are.

The speed at which they can put major infrastructure projects together made me want to cry – particularly when in the UK we’ve been debating Crossrail for decades – in Shanghai, they’d just knock it out in a couple of years. A lot of that has to do with the decision making process at the governmental level which the Chinese system allows to happen much faster. And of course the money is there for the capital investment.

10 years ago there were no malls in Shanghai. Now there are many and with the trend now towards mixed use developments, the competition between destinations will be stepping up. We think there’s a strong market where we could really make a difference.

Oh yes and we wouldn’t be British without a nicely understated comment about the local weather. QUITE WARM with a touch of HUMIDITY!