The Bund Shanghai. Photo by Esther Young.
Shanghai, already the preferred regional headquarters hub for multinationals in China, wants another 50 MNCs to locate their Asian headquarters in the city:
The target, unveiled by the Shanghai Commerce Commission yesterday, will see the total number of regional headquarters exceed 400 by the end of the year.
Forty-eight regional headquarters were added last year, bringing the total to 353, the most in any Chinese city.
The city has been encouraging greater foreign participation in its economic development by tapping international business links and unveiling favorable policies for foreign companies.
In one example, Shanghai is working on a policy to extend the visa validity of expats working in regional headquarters of multinational companies.
Sha Hailin, head of the Shanghai Commerce Commission, said the presence of regional headquarters of multinationals was accelerating in Shanghai, mainly in the Pudong New Area and in Xuhui, Changning and Huangpu districts.
Other cities in the region, including Taipei , Seoul, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur have all launched bids to become regional headquarters hubs, but the two cities leading the race so far are Singapore and Hong Kong, both of which are home to a few thousand headquarters. Shanghai, however, is coming in very steadily from behind and is well placed to give both cities a serious challenge.