HSBC Main Building

HSBC Main Building - Best Place to Travel

the past 40 yearshave been extraordinary for china. its booming economy is nowthe second largest in the world. and its currency, the renminbi, is becomingmore and more important. when i was growing up here,in the 1980s and the 1990s,


HSBC Main Building

HSBC Main Building, this was a closed country. everything was regulated,particularly money. today, i've cometo beijing university to meet professor fu jun

who teachespolitics and economics here. he's going to tell me what tight control of the renminbimeant for ordinary people. china at the time was isolated. for the average person in their daily lives... since there was a shortageof goods and services, they always had to queue up in long lines,

to get the goods which were necessaryto carry on their daily lives. so the economy -because of the shortage of goods - was strictly rationed. chinese people were not awarethat we were lagging behind and we needed to do somethingdifferent, to change the system, so that chinahad a better chance of catching up. frank fang works for hsbc in beijing. he lived through this period of time when strict control of the renminbi

made life difficultfor chinese people. we're now in the middle of beijing in an area of oldtraditional chinese hutong. this looks very similar to the hutong environmentwhere i grew up. literally, this iswhere people live in a courtyard with a dozen families. normally, they did not have their ownbathroom facilities in the old days and they had to share everything.

as you can see,there are still people living here but you can also tell that many of themare moving out of this area and the whole areais being redeveloped. i bet next year,if you came here again, you wouldn't seethe same things again. i worked for a us tv news agency. my first salary payment was in fec, something you probablyhaven't heard of before. it's calleda foreign exchange certificate.

i happen to have a set of itwith me. you can take a look. thank you! these are rmbbut they are not the usual rmbs. they were circulated in chinabetween the 1970s and 1990s. why would a foreign companynot be able to pay in rmb? as a foreign companyset up in china, they were restricted to that specialforeign exchange certificate currency and therefore when the companyneeded to pay their employees, they could only withdraw fecsfrom their accounts.

how restricted was the rmbas a currency in the 1990s? very restricted. it could only be circulatedwithin china. you could not takecurrency outside of china. you could not bringoverseas currency into china, either. if you needed to convert your localcurrency, rmb, into, say, us dollars, you needed to produce documents to prove your genuine need for it. as frank says,

life in old chinacould be difficult and frustrating. but the country has changedfurther and faster than most people expected. ultimately,the growth story is this - given resources, growth is the function of people,multiplied by technology. so if you multiply 1.3 billion people with that very powerful technology, you will seevery dramatic growth rates.

but we need to makethe necessary reforms so that we turnpotential into reality. the new generation of ambitiouschinese people have freedoms that their parentscould only dream of. to see that in action, i've cometo the heart of industrial china, to the southern city of guangzhou. rebecca cai works for hsbc here. she's ambitious and successful.

i am vice president of operations, taking care ofthe contact centre and operations. so in my team now there are over 700 staff. also, there are three sitesin guangzhou. i can also visit other global super centresin other countries. is your job or careerimportant to you?

of course, because it's my job. it's because of my jobthat i have my large income which enables meto have many experiences and gives me the chance totravel and buy lots of good things. so do you use rmb whenyou're shopping in europe, as well? yes, i use my union pay credit card. i was surprisedbecause a lot of famous shops, they also accept the union pay,so i have an advantage because i don't needto pay the exchange rate twice.

why do you think the chineseconsumers love big, famous brands? chinese people noware becoming richer than before so they also enjoy the lifestyle,enjoy the good quality products. so it's also a signthat chinese society is becoming a consumer society. - a consumer-based society?- yes. the opening up of the currencyhas changed the people's lives here and the most exciting thingis that it is only the beginning. the day of rmb globalisation

is coming rather soon. it's already very internationalin many markets nowadays and given people'sincreasing interest in this currency and china'sgrowing economic strength, that momentumis not going to slow down. the processof transforming the renminbi into an open,easily exchangeable currency has changed the futurefor chinese people and it has opened the doorfor growth and prosperity.


the past 40 yearshave been extraordinary for china. its booming economy is nowthe second largest in the world. and its currency, the renminbi, is becomingmore and more important. when i was growing up here,in the 1980s and the 1990s,


HSBC Main Building

HSBC Main Building, this was a closed country. everything was regulated,particularly money. today, i've cometo beijing university to meet professor fu jun

who teachespolitics and economics here. he's going to tell me what tight control of the renminbimeant for ordinary people. china at the time was isolated. for the average person in their daily lives... since there was a shortageof goods and services, they always had to queue up in long lines,

to get the goods which were necessaryto carry on their daily lives. so the economy -because of the shortage of goods - was strictly rationed. chinese people were not awarethat we were lagging behind and we needed to do somethingdifferent, to change the system, so that chinahad a better chance of catching up. frank fang works for hsbc in beijing. he lived through this period of time when strict control of the renminbi

made life difficultfor chinese people. we're now in the middle of beijing in an area of oldtraditional chinese hutong. this looks very similar to the hutong environmentwhere i grew up. literally, this iswhere people live in a courtyard with a dozen families. normally, they did not have their ownbathroom facilities in the old days and they had to share everything.

as you can see,there are still people living here but you can also tell that many of themare moving out of this area and the whole areais being redeveloped. i bet next year,if you came here again, you wouldn't seethe same things again. i worked for a us tv news agency. my first salary payment was in fec, something you probablyhaven't heard of before. it's calleda foreign exchange certificate.

i happen to have a set of itwith me. you can take a look. thank you! these are rmbbut they are not the usual rmbs. they were circulated in chinabetween the 1970s and 1990s. why would a foreign companynot be able to pay in rmb? as a foreign companyset up in china, they were restricted to that specialforeign exchange certificate currency and therefore when the companyneeded to pay their employees, they could only withdraw fecsfrom their accounts.

how restricted was the rmbas a currency in the 1990s? very restricted. it could only be circulatedwithin china. you could not takecurrency outside of china. you could not bringoverseas currency into china, either. if you needed to convert your localcurrency, rmb, into, say, us dollars, you needed to produce documents to prove your genuine need for it. as frank says,

life in old chinacould be difficult and frustrating. but the country has changedfurther and faster than most people expected. ultimately,the growth story is this - given resources, growth is the function of people,multiplied by technology. so if you multiply 1.3 billion people with that very powerful technology, you will seevery dramatic growth rates.

but we need to makethe necessary reforms so that we turnpotential into reality. the new generation of ambitiouschinese people have freedoms that their parentscould only dream of. to see that in action, i've cometo the heart of industrial china, to the southern city of guangzhou. rebecca cai works for hsbc here. she's ambitious and successful.

i am vice president of operations, taking care ofthe contact centre and operations. so in my team now there are over 700 staff. also, there are three sitesin guangzhou. i can also visit other global super centresin other countries. is your job or careerimportant to you?

of course, because it's my job. it's because of my jobthat i have my large income which enables meto have many experiences and gives me the chance totravel and buy lots of good things. so do you use rmb whenyou're shopping in europe, as well? yes, i use my union pay credit card. i was surprisedbecause a lot of famous shops, they also accept the union pay,so i have an advantage because i don't needto pay the exchange rate twice.

why do you think the chineseconsumers love big, famous brands? chinese people noware becoming richer than before so they also enjoy the lifestyle,enjoy the good quality products. so it's also a signthat chinese society is becoming a consumer society. - a consumer-based society?- yes. the opening up of the currencyhas changed the people's lives here and the most exciting thingis that it is only the beginning. the day of rmb globalisation

is coming rather soon. it's already very internationalin many markets nowadays and given people'sincreasing interest in this currency and china'sgrowing economic strength, that momentumis not going to slow down. the processof transforming the renminbi into an open,easily exchangeable currency has changed the futurefor chinese people and it has opened the doorfor growth and prosperity.