Greenwich, Connecticut, Hangzhou now 'sisters'

By Paul Welitzkin in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-05-24 10:41

Greenwich, Connecticut, Hangzhou now 'sisters'

Chengtao Jin (left), district chief of the Shangcheng District in Hangzhou, and Greenwich, Connecticut, First Selectman Peter Tesei display the signed sister-city agreement between Greenwich and Hangzhou on Tuesday at the Greenwich Town Hall. Paul Welitzkin / China Daily

When China was considering cities to host leaders of the world's 20 major economies at last year's G20 Summit, it chose Hangzhou in Zhejiang province. And when Hangzhou was looking for an American city to study in setting up a global financial center for the country's fledgling hedge fund industry, officials selected Greenwich, Connecticut.

On Tuesday, officials from Hangzhou and Greenwich extended the relationship by agreeing to sister-city status. Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei and Chengtao Jin, district chief of the Shangcheng District in Hangzhou, signed papers that will strengthen economic and cultural ties.

"Greenwich is our example to learn from especially about public services," Jin told those gathered at Greenwich Town Hall.

Tesei acknowledges that hedge funds represent a direct correlation between the areas, but he hopes the sister-city arrangement can help to diversify the relationship.

"We want to build off of that foundation (hedge funds) and create a greater knowledge in China about all that Greenwich has to offer as well as learn more about Hangzhou," he said.

In 2013, a group of Chinese journalists visited Greenwich to gather information to begin replicating a financial center similar to Greenwich in a site between the Qiantang River and Jade Emperor Hill in the village of Yuhuang Shannan, about an hour from Shanghai via high speed train.

It now hosts more than 1,000 hedge and private equity funds overseeing a combined $84.2 billion (580 billion yuan) of assets. The affluent town of Greenwich, located about 35 miles from New York City, is home to 380 hedge funds managing about $350 billion in assets.

Bruce McGuire of the Connecticut Hedge Fund Association said the sister-city pact is the beginning of the relationship between the Connecticut hedge fund industry and the China hedge fund industry.

"We also hope to establish better relationships with investors in China, particularly high net-worth individuals and institutional investors who want access to high-quality American investment talent," he said.

McGuire said the hedge fund industry is "vitally important" to Connecticut's economy. "About 45 percent of total tax receipts that go to fund the state of Connecticut come out of Fairfield County," McGuire said. "And a big percentage of that is coming out of Greenwich, and a big percentage of that comes from those in the hedge fund industry."



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