Shanghai Lockdown: Chinese traders ordered to live in office under Covid-19 restrictions

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Dharamjot Kaur

China’s Wall Street underwent total chaos, hours before the government ordered a strict lockdown in Shanghai, after the city experienced the worst Covid-19 outbreak since 2020. More than 20,000 trading personnel, banking staff and other employees are camping out in the office towers at Shanghai’s Lujiazui district as they bid to keep China’s giant financial hub afloat over troubled waters, caused by this sudden lockdown.

Bank of Communications Co., Huatai Securities Co. and HFT Investment Management Co. were among several firms that summoned their employees to make it back to the office in order to avoid being caught in the lockdown, according to sources familiar with the directives. 

Brokerages, asset managers and financial exchanges in Lujiazui – China’s version of the American Wall Street – rushed to prepare the office for this unprecedented circumstance and arranged sleeping bags and basic supplies for overnight stays.

Amundi BOC Wealth Management Co was quoted as saying that its senior executives, as well as crucial trading and risk-management employees are working and living in their offices, to ensure smooth, uninterrupted business operations.

Some firms, in a bid to keep the market afloat, have also adopted the two-team rotation shift system and taken the initiative to establish disaster recovery centres in the financial centre that generated and processed more than 2,500 trillion yuan ($292 trillion) of financial transactions in the previous year.

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