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Shanghai will become the epitome of all cities
By:Wu Qiong  |  2018-05-30 09:18

【Starting from 2017, the Shanghai Municipal Foreign Affairs Office, together with district governments, has started hosting the "Internationalized Shanghai Promotion Series" to help Shanghai turn itself into an international economic, financial, trade, shipping and technology innovation center, and become a global city of excellence and a modern socialistic international metropolis.

  Following the first two events in Yangpuand Jing'an District, this May, an event series will be held in Huangpu. The event will highlight the advantages of the financial agglomeration in the Bund area and promote the Innovation and Development Demonstration Areafor the High-end Service Industryat Bund Waterfront. Eastday.com sat down with some expats who shared their stories of living and working in Huangpu.】

(Joseph Chong, Area Vice-President and Managing Director of The Peninsula Hong Kong and The Peninsula Shanghai)

  Hailing from Kuala Lumpur, Joseph Chong is Area Vice-President and Managing Director of The Peninsula Hong Kong and The Peninsula Shanghai. Prior to his transfer to Shanghai, he worked in Beijing and Bangkok. When he was asked "Do you prefer Beijing or Shanghai?" in his first or second month in Shanghai, his answer was: Beijing. However, several months later, he changed his opinion. “Hands down, I prefer Shanghai. Because I’ve discovered that Shanghai is very deep in tradition and history. It is a city that has got so much great multicultural influence. On an international basis, Shanghai appears to stand out much more prominently than any other city in China.”

  “The other day I went to a noodle shop where I often go to eat. Usually when I sat down, they would give me a menu. But that day I sat there, and waited for ten minutes. No one gave me the menu. Then they pointed at the QR code on the table for me to order from it. I was too surprised!”Having now been in Shanghai for nine years, Joseph ranks this as one of the greatest changes he has witnessed. 

  “When I go back to Malaysia, I feel a little bit out of place, because the convenience that I find and see in Shanghai is so much more than what I see in my home country,” said Joseph. “If you look at technology, the shared bike, the WeChat social platform, Alipay… Shanghai is advancing ahead of Kuala Lumpur. So is the massive metro system. In the tourism sector, tourism infrastructure is very comprehensive. On a cultural side, look at the number of internationally-acclaimed concerts that have been held in this city and the number of international movies from Hollywood that have been premiered in Shanghai, so it tells you that Shanghai is a natural magnetizing hub for many international events.” That’s whyJoseph calls Shanghai “a world capital,” and a very unique international city.

  Managed by Joseph, The Peninsula Shanghai is located just off the Bund. Opened in 2009, its relationship with Shanghai can be traced back to the 19th century. It was along the Huangpu River that the Kadoorie family-the founding family of the hotel’s parent company (The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited)-started their first business in Shanghai. The current chairman Sir Michael Kadoorie also spent the first six years of his childhood in what was called the Marble Palace due to the building material (the current location of the China Welfare Institute Children's Palace). That is the reason why they went back to Shanghai and built a Peninsula hotel here in 2009.

  (The Huangpu River in the 1920s, from which people can see the current Peace Hotel, formerly known as the Palace Hotel owned by The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited.)

  (The Bund in the late 1980s. Front right is the current No. 1 Waitanyuan, and back right is the original Friendship Store, currently The Peninsula Shanghai.)  

  On the 14th floor of the hotel is the Rosamonde Aviation Lounge named in honor of China’s aviation history. It was named after a beautiful and legendary Chinese woman, Soong Ching-ling, whose English name is Rosamonde. In 1923, Guangdong developed China’s first self-builtplane. In August of the same year, Soong accompanied her husband Sun Yat-sen to preside over the test flight of the plane. Sun named the plane after his wife. That day, Soong also boarded the plane and became China’s first female test pilot. The Rosamonde Aviation Lounge is the epitome of air travelers’ adventures and experiences in the 1930s. A life-size replica of the Anqing, a Loening amphibian used by China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) in 1930, is on display in the hall.

(Sun Yat-sen and Soong Ching-ling in front of Rosamonde)

  The hotel has been rated as the best hotel in Asia by “Travel+Leisure” magazine for two consecutive years, thus allowing the world to see the appeal of Shanghai. However, its aim upon opening was not just to set an industry benchmark for luxury hotels in Shanghai. Over the past years, it has been devoted to promoting Shanghai's tourism resources and business opportunities by working closely with the government at different levels.  

  With a keen interest incharity work, Joseph has led the hotel in fulfilling its social responsibilities, making lots of contributions in promoting youth education and skills training as well as advocating energy conservation and emissions reduction. At his initiative, the hotel has worked together with the Shanghai Bund Association for Promotion of Commerce and Trade and developed an official sistership between the Bund and St. Honore in Paris, a chic street full of luxury fashion brands, thus establishing a close partnership in such fields as cultural cultivation and brand establishment of commercial streets.

  From Joseph’s point of view, something still needs to be done for Shanghai to become an international city to rival Sydney or New York. For example, having a one-way traffic system would alleviate the traffic problems on the Bund. He also suggests a cycling lane on the Bund, which is a way to reduce emissions. In addition, user-friendly public facilities, the greenery along the Bund and accurate signpost translations are other fundamentals that need to be taken into consideration to make the Bund a world-class example of urban planning.

  When asked whether he lives in the hotel, Joseph smiled, “I live in Pudong. On the way to work and going home,I can find something different and it can bring brand new ideas to the hotel.”

  Talking about his expectations for the hotel, Joseph said he wants to “promote luxury in the city and make Shanghai a much more prominent city. My expectation is to put Shanghai on the world platform in line with New York, Los Angeles and London.”

  Standing on the top floor of the hotel and overlooking the astounding views of the Huangpu River, Joseph is very confident about the future of Shanghai. “My expectation of Shanghai is to be a strong financial hub, an exemplary city that is technologically advanced and user-friendly. I want to see Shanghai as the epitome of all cities.”