Shanghai Neighborhood Seeks Hedge-Fund Cachet

Oct 21 2013 | 11:13am ET

China's would-be hedge fund center is hoping to lure the industry to an unusual home: a former ghetto.

The Hongkou district of Shanghai, across the Huangpu River from the Lujiazui financial district, plans to offer tax breaks and other benefits to hedge funds the open offices in the neighborhood, Forbes reports. Shanghai is the home of China's new qualified domestic limited partner group, which will allow foreign hedge funds to raise money in mainland China for the first time.

Hedge funds are traditionally found in ritzy districts, such as Greenwich, Conn., Mayfair in London and Singapore's Nepal Hill. Hongkou does not have that sort of appeal—it is best known as a haven for stateless Jews during the Second World War. But it has what an optimistic real-estate broker might call great bones, including a number of landmarks and historic buildings that could one day be called 'home' by the likes of Citadel Investment Group, Man Group and Och-Ziff Asset Management—three of the first six hedge funds to win QDLP licenses.

At the moment, the would-be Hongkou Hedge Fund Zone includes just one building, the 47-story CITIC Tower. But the zone will expand, according to Kenny Li, the CEO of KKM Capital and a consultant hired by Hongkou's government to lure in hedge funds; Shanghai Daily estimates that as many as 38 firms will have bases there by the end of next year.

In addition to tax breaks, hedge funds based in Hongkou will pay much lower rent. The CITIC building will also offer 24-hour support services.

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