Nonetheless, this year Beijing will lose its fund management industry. Fuguo (in English, Fullgoal) has just decamped for Shanghai. Shanghai is a financial centre, explains Cary Zhang, Fullgoals chief strategist. It may not be near CSRC but it is near the Shanghai Stock Exchange and many publicly listed companies. Fullgoal now joins China Guotai and Huaan in this bustling commercial city.
But the biggest winner is Shenzhen, the founding place of the fund industry and currently home to Nanfang (China Southern) and Penghua. They are to be joined over the next 12 months by Boshi, Changsheng and Dacheng, while Jiashe (Harvest) is thinking about it.
They are lured by Shenzhens low corporate taxes 18% versus 33% in Beijing says Wei Shang-yun at Dacheng. Other advantages include the proliferation of many high-tech companies, which they invest in and also solicit business from.
Because many fund management companies have roots in Shenzhen, many of their top personnel have personal connections with southern China, says Li Quan, executive vice president at Boshi. Like Shanghai, it has a stock exchange, and a large pool of talented people, he adds.
Crucially, Shenzhen is close to Hong Kong, where many fund managers now have foreign partners.
There is another reason for the flight from Beijing, which fund managers mutter only privately, and that is to escape the heavy hand of the authorities. Being close to CSRC, instead of conferring advantages, can prove stifling. Shanghai and especially Shenzhen are far away and much more freewheeling. The quality of the local regulators is also better.
The odd man out is Huaxia (China Asset Management), which is perfectly happy to remain in Beijing. We are established here, and we emphasize stability, explains an official there.