Asia’s International Trading and Finance Centres
Edited by François Gipouloux
Chapter 11: The Eastward Shift: Rising Role and New Positioning of East Asian Cities in the Global Economy
Alice Ekman Tokyo is not the only global city of East Asia: Hong-Kong and Singapore are world trade and finance centres, and Beijing and Shanghai, with the opening and development of the Chinese market, now have new global ambitions. Most East Asian cities are eager to play a stronger role in international trade and finance. Local governments have to be even more imaginative than ever: foreign direct investment attraction and tourism are not the only fields of competition anymore; in order to gain ‘global’ status, cities have to find ways to attract entrepreneurs and creative companies, foreign students, a new generation of temporary but qualified workers, institutional investors, globally developing companies and develop university campuses, business schools, research centres, cultural facilities, among other infrastructures. Conscious of these necessities, East Asian cities such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo or Seoul have managed, at different levels, to become more global than they used to be during the last decade. As a result, a significant phenomenon is currently taking place: the rising role of East Asian cities in the global economy. Such ‘eastward shift’ leads to a geographical reordering of global economic centres. In this context, East Asian cities have to adapt their development according to their new role in the global economy. Using both quantitative and qualitative perspectives, crossing available figures with interviews of economic actors conducted in late 2008 and 2009 in Shanghai and Tokyo, this chapter analyses the increasing role East Asian cities play in the global economy...
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