Among the tiger economies of Asia, nothing beats Hong Kong except Shanghai in terms of growth over the past decade. One of the world’s largest metropolis, Shanghai has grown from a fishing village to a shipping port once replete with brothels and gambling houses to a modern multinational business hub. As a center of commerce in the 1930’s, many foreign nationals invested on textile, banking on the demand for silk and silk products from the surrounding areas of Jiangsu and Zhejiang. Today, large multinational companies have set up offices in Shanghai with the hope of acquiring a share of the huge newly tapped Chinese market, which is undergoing a feverish expansion in all fronts.
Data from Doing Business 2008 puts Shanghai at the top spot when it comes to registering property. Among the economic zones and cities in China, Shanghai offers a straightforward procedure in securing rights to property using a 4-procedure process done in 29 days compared to 99 days in the region. The cost of registration is pegged at 3.6% of the property value which is lower than the 4.1% in the region and 4.7% in high-income China’s silk road economic belt.
Among 30 Chinese cities, Shanghai ranks fourth in the challenges entrepreneurs meet to start a business. While it takes 14 procedures to launch a business in Shanghai, it takes about 35 days to conclude the process which is faster than the rest of the region at 44.2 days. High-income economies however require a similar process in 13.4 days. On the other hand, the cost of starting a business in Shanghai is 4.8% of GNI per capita and a 200% paid in minimum capital.
Meanwhile the ease or difficulty in enforcing contracts is measured as follows: the number of procedures required in the evolution of a payment dispute and in tracking time and cost is 31 which is comparable to the 30.8 procedures required in high-income economies. However, it takes only 292 days to settle a business dispute in Shanghai compared to the 551 days in the region and 462.7 days in high-income economies. The cost of enforcing contracts is pegged at 9% of claim, whereas the average cost in the region is 48.4% and 18.9% in high-income economies.
The foregoing data only proves that Shanghai has a robust economy investors cannot ignore. Although the global economic crisis slowed down its acceleration, Shanghai’s economy continues to grow. Now, its aviation and cargo ports are one of the busiest in the world bringing in more investments and funds that are plowed back into the city’s physical infrastructure.
Shanghai’s economic boom has attracted not only multinational companies but also thousands of local and foreign tourists seeking its rich cultural heritage and the glitters of its skyscrapers. The bacchanalian grandeur of the past are preserved in the architectural designs of the French Quarters and the Bund and its vibrant commerce is reflected by the hundreds of stores along its main roads and the commercial streets at Nanjing Lu and Huaihai Lu. Shanghai continues to prosper, upgrading its own standards and creating a benchmark for the rest of the region.