Repost from SFGATE

By Andrew S. Ross

September 30, 2011  4:00am

China’s fifth largest bank is coming to San Francisco.

Bank of Communications, based in Shanghai, will open its West Coast flagship in the Financial District in November.

“This is our most significant recruit to San Francisco to date,” said Ginny Fang, executive director ofChinaSF, the public-private agency that has brought 13 Chinese companies to San Francisco since it began in 2008. “It builds a critical piece of the financial infrastructure between China and San Francisco and the Bay Area, and affirms San Francisco as a hub for bringing Chinese investment to the U.S.”

Founded in 1908, Bank of Communications has more than 2,800 branches in 80 cities worldwide, most of them in China but also in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Frankfurt and other major financial centers. The one other U.S. outpost is in New York. Publicly traded on the Hong Kong and Shanghai exchanges, the bank had assets of about $680 billion and 87,000 employees as of June, according to a company report. Global Finance magazine ranked it the world’s 40th-largest bank of 2010.

Originally chartered as “the bank for developing the country’s industries,” one of its chief mandates has been to help expand the country’s industries overseas. “At first, it will be mainly focused on bringing Chinese companies into the U.S. and serving their needs here,” said Fang.

The bank’s office will be at 575 Market St., in the same building as the North American headquarters of China Sunergy, a publicly traded Chinese solar company brought to San Francisco by China SF in July. The bank will open with 10 employees. More are expected to be hired in coming months.

Senior bank executives were not available for interviews on Thursday, but in a statement, the branch’s interim general manager, Shaohui Yang, said San Francisco was “a natural choice” for the bank:

“As the West Coast capital of finance, San Francisco is the ideal location to support the investment of Chinese businesses into the U.S. while supporting U.S. businesses accessing China’s markets.”

Taking over?: If you’re looking to find out more about what China is doing in the technology space, an all-day conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center on Saturday may provide some insights.

“China: The Next Center of the Global Economy?” will explore recent trends in Chinese innovation (as opposed to imitation), the differences between Chinese and Silicon Valley startups, the evolution of social media and mobile computing in China and cross-border investments in the life sciences and other sectors.

Speakers include CEOs and senior executives from Chinese companies such as Tencent, a leading Chinese Internet service provider, and Huawei, a telecommunications manufacturer; and Chinese investment firms, including the Hina Group andMingly China Growth Fund. The Bay Area and Silicon Valley will be represented by speakers fromSalesforce.comGoogleCisco Systems andVMware.

“China’s growing sway over the global economy has attracted significant attention, especially in terms of corporate strategy,” said Weijie Yun, former executive chairman of Silicon Valley chipmakerTelegent Systems , which was recently bought out by Shanghai’s Spreadtrum Communications.

“We are ready to talk about whether China can shoulder the responsibility of being at the epicenter of worldwide commerce,” said Yun, president of conference sponsor Hua Yuan Science and Technology Association, a Silicon Valley organization of Chinese entrepreneurs.

That’s quite a responsibility to take on.

More information, including registration ($20-$100), at

Downscaling: Add “mancession” to “man bags,” “murses” and other contemporary phenomena of a male persuasion.

The label applies, says Wells Fargo, because men are getting hit much harder than women during the recession, even as their participation in the workforce continues to decline significantly.

Culling the latest unemployment numbers, Wells Fargo economists find that behind the overall 9.1 percent U.S. employment for August, men’s joblessness stood at 9.6 percent, compared with women’s 8.5 percent. That’s because male-dominated industries like construction and manufacturing have been hit hardest, while health services andeducation, more the purview of women, had been doing better.

But that’s changing, say the economists, as manufacturing and business services are beginning to recover, while public education and government administration – traditionally female strongholds – are getting hit by government-mandated spending cuts.

“Still, women are faring better,” the survey concludes. “Education has been a key factor in workers’ unemployment experiences, and women are more likely to hold a college degree than men” (

The real gap: Race is another matter. The jobless rate for African Americans reached 16.7 percent in August, more than double that for whites, the Wells Fargo report finds. And those are just the official numbers, which probably underestimate the real gap. Black teenage unemployment, at 47 percent, “makes it difficult for this group to gain valuable working experience in their early years,” the economists observe, in a polite understatement.