Friday, 27 September 2013

Is Shanghai Friends with Facebook?

Shanghai's free-trade zone will open this weekend -- should HK be scared?
Will it or won't it?

We're still trying to figure out if the Chinese government will make social media sites Twitter and Facebook available in Shanghai's free-trade zone which is set to open this weekend.

Under the leadership of Premier Li Keqiang, Beijing is creating a Hong Kong-like free-trade zone in Shanghai, making it the biggest economic experiment since Shenzhen, and there is a lot of debate as to whether or not it will eclipse Hong Kong, and when.

The goal is to attract foreign investment to the zone, making it easier for foreign companies to transfer money to the area and convert it into renminbi -- but there are concerns that they won't be able to get the money out just as easily.

To add some gravitas to the free-trade zone, tycoon Li Ka-shing weighed in, saying the zone will have a bigger and quicker impact on Hong Kong than most people imagine.

"It has different aspects, including financial services. When the yuan is fully convertible, it will benefit the development of Shanghai," he said.

Ah yes, the key words are "fully convertible".

When will that happen? Not any time soon, as the Chinese government likes to keep a firm grip on the yuan and tweaking it -- we didn't say manipulating it -- as they please.

So, while Hong Kong's "Superman" is warning Hong Kong not to be complacent, the yuan ain't going to be fully convertible anytime soon.

And what about Facebook and Twitter?

A Hong Kong paper reported from a reliable source these social media sites would be freed up in the zone, making it more "foreigner-friendly". But then this was quashed by a People's Daily report, where officials said the report was "incorrect". However this story was deleted from the People's Daily website.

What's the deal then? No word yet.

Regardless, does having Facebook and Twitter in this zone make them the deal maker in enticing foreign investment in Shanghai?


  1. the CCP is confused about the shanghai FTZ...

    beginning to consider Li Ka-shing closer to a cockroach given what he said about yuan full convertible in Shanghai FTZ and telling HK the yuan isn't fully convertible. This in addition to his previous acts, not doing more charitable works to HK society, mankind, etc. like others with similar wealth. Li Ka-shing still kow-tow and toe the lines fo the CCP.

    1. Hi nulle

      Li said "When the yuan is fully convertible..." and it doesn't seem like that will happen tomorrow, so there doesn't seem to be much reason for Hong Kong to worry about Shanghai's free-trade zone.