Shanghai

During the days of the Republic, Nanjing Road in Shanghai was one of the best-known commercial streets in the world. Stores and advertisements lined the streets; advertisement placards announcing sales and discounts were waved in the streets while tobacconists, pharmacies, watch shops and metal workshops vied for customers side by side.

[Photo story] The many faces of Shanghai over a hundred years

Over a century, the city of Shanghai saw it all. Westerners fell in love with Republican Shanghai, where commerce and culture flourished; Japanese invaders advanced and retreated; communism and capitalism vied for a stage. Despite these ups and downs, Shanghai has maintained a demeanour and style unto itself. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao traces Shanghai’s days of glamour and the front-row seat it had in war, revolution, and reform.  
Boy and schoolgirl walk through a boarded-up neighbourhood in Laoximen.

An Egyptian-American architect's poignant photographs of disappearing Shanghai neighbourhoods

After ten years of living in Shanghai and seeing the rapid changes to the city, Egyptian-American architect Hisham Youssef takes us on a nostalgic and personal photographic tour of the lanes and neighborhoods that, until very recently, stood in the city he now calls home.
A woman wearing a face mask following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak walks past a residential compound in Beijing, China, 11 August 2020. (Tingshu Wang/REUTERS)

The Chinese property bubble that just won't burst

While the Chinese government has implemented cooling measures including reminding people that property is “not for speculation”, it seems that people are not taking it seriously and still believe that property is a guaranteed investment. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing takes the temperature of the Chinese property market.
Staff of the Shanghai Book Company at an exhibition in 1965, Singapore. (Photo provided by Zhang Langhui)

How the Shanghai Book Company enlivened Singapore's cultural scene

In December 2020, family and friends of Shanghai Book Co Ltd produced a commemorative book of the now-defunct bookstore. Founded in 1925, Shanghai Book Co Ltd played a pivotal role in shaping the consciousness of Chinese-speaking Singaporeans in the 1950s. It was a meeting point of ideas and voices, not only from greater China, but within Southeast Asia. In fact, it had helped to nurture the budding interest of Chinese-speaking young students in Malay language and culture. Teo Han Wue recounts how this bookshop in North Bridge Road, easily stereotyped as Chinese-centric, became instead an emblem of openness and cultural diversity.
A logo of Ant Group is pictured at the headquarters of the company, an affiliate of Alibaba, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, 29 October 2020. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Regulating new technologies: Singapore and China can work together

Law experts Tan Chong Huat and Amanda Chen observe that the recent halting of Ant Group’s dual listing on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges augur more regulatory changes in the micro-loans industry. While this lowers financial stability risk, will more of such regulations hinder fintech advancements? Where’s the middle ground? In their opinion, there is much that Singapore and China can learn from each other in the regulation of emerging technologies.
A taxi drives along a road before the city skyline in Hong Kong on 15 August 2020. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP)

A reshuffle of global financial centres on the cards?

Research analyst Fiona Huang argues that globalisation has a huge part to play in building global financial centres. If basic prerequisites such as close cooperation with regulators and market stability are met, the next-level condition for a flourishing global financial centre is an open attitude towards global capital and culture. How will the changing political milieu around the world today lead to a reshuffle of global financial centres?
Ke Huanzhang (left) and Liu Thai Ker are veteran urban planners in China and Singapore. (SPH)

Liu Thai Ker and Ke Huanzhang: Urban planners are servants of the city

How do urban planners go about their work and what contributions do they make to the building of liveable cities? Ke Huanzhang, former head of the Beijing Academy of Urban Planning and Design, is all for the seamless melding of a good ecological environment, living facilities, jobs and public services in a city. Liu Thai Ker, the former chief architect and CEO of Singapore’s Housing Development Board, says a good planner needs to have the heart of a humanist, the brain of a scientist, and the eye of an artist. Tan Ying Zhen speaks to the veteran urban planners as part of a series of fireside chats put together to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.
This file photo taken on 17 September 2018 shows Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma preparing to deliver a speech during the main forum of the World Artificial Intelligence Conference 2018 (WAIC 2018) in Shanghai. (STR/AFP)

China's tightening fintech regulations may benefit Ma Yun's Ant in the long term

The writing was on the wall, but what changes has fintech company Ant Group’s recent IPO suspension sped along for the online microfinance industry? Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing takes a closer look.
A booth of digital finance products is seen at a fair during the INCLUSION fintech conference in Shanghai, China, 24 September 2020. (Cheng Leng/Reuters)

With Ant Group's record $34.5 billion IPO suspended, what happens next?

Jack Ma’s fintech company Ant Group had it all planned out. It would bypass American stock exchanges and proceed with a dual listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Shanghai’s STAR market, which would have raised an estimated US$34.5 billion, the biggest IPO in history. Now that the IPO has been suspended, what happens next?