The Shanghai Stock Exchange and Acrobats

Our visit this morning was the Shanghai Stock Exchange located across the Huangpu River in the city’s ultra-modern financial sector. We were met by our host for the visit, Mr. Jackie Liu, Senior Manager, Global Business Development, who informed us that China had two stock markets–this one in Shanghai and a second in Shenzhen outside of Hong Kong. Mr. Liu noted that today a remarkable 75% of Shanghai residents own stock.

Interestingly, the multi-story modern office block that houses the Exchange was constructed with a large rectangular hole through the entire building from perhaps the 9th through the 15th floor, done at the suggestion of the feng shui (“wind”, “water”) masters who reviewed building designs and considered this air passage the most favorable for financial success of the institution! We were surprised at the continued importance of feng shui in the location and design of Shanghai’s modern buildings!

In the evening, we attend a show by the world famous Shanghai Acrobats. The final act, perhaps one of the signature acts of the Shanghai Acrobats, involved young men looping their roaring electric motorcycles inside an 18-ft . diameter round steel mesh cage to throbbing music. The act began with one rider doing the looping inside the cage, then a second. They were followed by a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth–intertwining in alternative patters to ever rising “oohs” and “aahs” from an incredulous audience. Margins for error inside the cage were very small! This was not something for the faint of heart to observe!  Jack informed us that most acrobats came from one small area in Henan Province and began training as early as 4-5 years of age.  Given the danger involved, acrobatics seemed to be a tough way to make a living–but like many sports, it provided an avenue out of too often what might have been a poverty-level existence

Jim from Shanghai