Beijing Cleaning House

Forbes: Soho China's CEO Zhang Xin: 'The Slowdown Will Continue'
Q. What about the prospects for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster?

A. That might be an opportunity. What I’ve seen the Beijing government trying to do is to push the lower end out of the city. For instance, we know that undergraduate universities are moving outside of the fifth ring road. We know that many migrant workers who are staying in the basement of a lot of buildings are getting cleared out. So clearly, the direction of the city planning for Beijing is to get the lower end out, and at same time they want to make it easier for others to come to Beijing. I heard that the visa applications will be easier. They want to make all the bureaucracy for foreigners coming to China leaner and simpler. So the effort is clearly is to try to make Beijing (as) the capital city cleaner and more cosmopolitan.

The Olympics and other major events usually push China to upgrade its infrastructure, whether it’s the Expo in Shanghai, the Summer Olympics in Beijing or the Winter Olympics. Chinese are good at meeting a deadline, finishing it and putting on the good show. The central government is here (in Beijing) and they are into making it more like a capital. They’re really worried about pollution, and the pollution has improved a lot.

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