I've Been Shanghaied. Automotive Journalist Jason Craig Has Spent the Week in G Shanghai Getting an Inside View of the Chinese Grand Prix in a Trip Organised by Coventry University. He Explains Why the Erupting Icelandic Volcano May Not Be Such a Bad Thing
Byline: Jason Craig
With the ash cloud still lingering over Western Europe, my tour guide jokingly suggests that Wmy departure from China in a few days' time will be on a slow boat.
Mr Lu speaks English with flair, full of knowledge and someone who will be conducting his umpteenth tour of Shanghai with me - his umpteenth tourist, for the next two days.
Lu informs me that this metropolis on the South-east coast of China is quickly becoming like its American equivalent, New York: a city that never sleeps.
Shanghai has a population of more than 20 million, making it almost three times the size of London. There is simply too much to see and do over the course of a weekend.
That said, it is possible to gain an idea of how China's most prosperous and ef-f fervescent city is being earmarked to become the world's leading financial power-r house. And there is much to suggest that this increasingly likely to be the case.
In a little under ten days' time, Shanghai's ExpoLand will welcome entrepreneurs from around the world as it plays host to the Expo 2010 Shanghai. The event gives China an opportunity to secure existing investments, and sign new business deals like those already agreed with Siemens, General Motors and IBM.
Located close to Shanghai's financial district, Pudong is also home to the Citi Group, Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank-k ing Corporation (HSBC), Aurora and Mirae Asset. At 1,600 ft high, Pudong's skyline is dominated by the city's World Financial Centre, which takes on a whole new meaning by night courtesy of electronic pyrotechnics.
As you walk towards Shanghai's waterfront along Nanjing Road - China's equiv-v alent of Oxford Street - the buildings that line Huangpu River's eastern bank are clearly influenced by Western thinking.
Everywhere you look, land is being developed apace. Teams of construction workers toil around the clock; the idea of delaying the opening of the 148,000 sq ft SML Central Square - one of three such shopping complexes to open in the coming months - is simply unthinkable to the Shanghainese.
According to a report compiled by global real estate advisors Newmark Knight Frank, consumer spending totalled N520 billion (pounds 52 billion) for 2009, despite the rate of economic growth declining by N50 billion to N460 billion (pounds 46 billion) in the same 12-month period. …