There’s not just intense competition to get into the Asian market, there’s also fierce competition between major Asian trading centres to be the best.Apparently one of the major battles is between Hong Kong and Singapore. And the war means no more lunch breaks for traders in either city, according to Dealbook.
It’s important to know that longish, leisurely lunch breaks are an ingrained part of Asian culture, so this is a big move:
The lunch hour is the last vestige of a bygone colonial era. While London shed its more laidback habits more than 60 years ago, the British influence has lingered in Asia for decades.
“When I first arrived it was very British: there was a mandatory half-day on Saturday where people would sit around and read newspapers and clean up their desk,” said Todd Martin, an equity strategist in Hong Kong.
But now Hong Kong and Singapore (apparently more than Shanghai) are vying to be Asia’s supreme financial centre.
On Hong Kong’s side is that they serve the booming Chinese IPO market. On Singapore’s side – they’re about to introduce a high-speed trading engine in August that will be the fastest in the world (8 seconds faster than the Nasdaq apparently).
But Hong Kong needs to lockdown its position as the gateway to China and to try and do that Hong Kong has extended its trading hours by two hours and shortened its lunch break. Tokyo followed their cue.
And now Singapore is scrapping its midday break altogether.
Well, Gordon Gekko said it best: “lunch is for wimps.”
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