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Shanghai's strong need for HK pros
( 2003-11-03 09:29) (China Daily HK Edition)

Shanghai will need professionals from Hong Kong in the coming years, especially in the services and finance sectors, says Yani Chen, marketing manager of Shanghai Foreign Service Company (SFSC).

SFSC is the first foreign-services firm on the mainland. The State-owned company provides services to foreign enterprises that set up offices on the mainland from human-resources services to other business-consulting services, such as obtaining permits or licenses from different government departments and dealing with tax and customs procedures.

Foreign investors are not incorporated to run businesses on the mainland, they have to get permission from the government, Chen said. Therefore, there is a need for companies like SFSC, which act as a business consultant to the foreign companies by applying their superior knowledge in the country and network with the government departments.

According to Chen, SFSC has more than 5,500 clients, which are mostly world-renowned companies. Many of its clients are on Fortune 500 lists. Employing more than 56,000 Chinese staff, SFSC has a network with more than 60 human-resources companies in 30 provinces and municipalities.

"I think it is ridiculous for some Hong Kong media to report that Shanghai will overtake Hong Kong as a premier financial centre in the Greater China region in a few years' time," Chen said.

There are some areas in which Shanghai falls behind Hong Kong, and the gap is not narrow, she said. It is most notable that Shanghai still needs more work in the services and finance sectors. And to achieve that, Shanghai needs to import professionals from Hong Kong who have the skills and know-how that are up to international standards, she said.

"I can see the trend of strong demand for resourceful Hong Kong management executives from companies in Shanghai to last for many years," Chen said.

Earlier last week, Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng led a Shanghai delegation to Hong Kong for a three-day visit. During the visit, about 800 companies and institutions from Shanghai staged a jobs fair in Hong Kong providing 1,060 positions to be filled. The positions, which are mainly at senior management levels, came in such sectors as tourism, investment and trade, financial services, education and professional services.

There has been a rising trend for companies in Shanghai to look for professionals across the border, particularly in Hong Kong, she said.

With the signing of the CEPA between Hong Kong and the mainland, in addition to the implementation of China's agreement with the WTO, Chen said the agreements will not only open up opportunities to foreign investors who wish to run businesses on the mainland, but raise the country's demand for overseas professionals.

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