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May 15, 2010

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Bronze bull leads financial charge

A FEISTY bronze bull will take its place on the Bund today, symbolizing the financial-services ambitions of the city once regaled as the Wall Street of the Far East.

Shanghai commissioned the American sculptor of New York City's Charging Bull to create the Bund Bull statue.

It's the same size as the Wall Street version, but "redder, younger and stronger," said Arturo Di Modica, who built and installed the New York version in 1989.

The animal's reddish hue represents the color of China, and his vigorous pose signifies a bullish and prosperous future for the rising financial center, Di Modica said.

Made in the United States, the bull was transported to Shanghai earlier this month.

"It's a mixture of Western and Chinese cultures," said Di Modica, adding he was inspired by both the Charging Bull and the Chinese ox.

Like the Wall Street sculpture, the Bund Bull is about 2.5 meters high and weighs 2.5 tons. But it leans to the right instead of the left, the sculptor said.

Whereas the original scowls at the foot of Broadway, two blocks south of the New York Stock Exchange, the younger bull is set amid the neoclassical buildings of the Bund, with the modern skyline of Pudong's financial center across the Huangpu River.

The Shanghai setting is the center of the city's plan to develop itself into an international financial hub by 2020.

The Bund Financial Square, where the bull stands, will be equipped with a four-sided screen displaying the day's stock market prices.

The area is one of four squares in the renovated Bund area. The others are Huangpu Park, Chen Yi Square and Meteorological Square.

The rejuvenated Bund has been open to the public for about six weeks. Most supporting commercial facilities are expected to finish decoration and open for business by the end of this month.

But don't look for KFC and McDonald's or traditional Chinese restaurants. They're not allowed, lest their cooking smoke taints the new Bund's atmosphere.

"The facilities must meet the high-end image of the Bund and cause little pollution to the environment as well," said Zhou Shunguo, director of the Bund Administration Office.

No convenience stores or book and newspaper stalls will be found, either.

The administrators did add two new mobile drink stalls to two originally there. And they have allowed the eateries and dessert stores Hui Lau Shan, Subway, Haagen Dazs and Costa Coffee.

Zhou said visitors can patronize restaurants on Sichuan Road M., Jiangxi Road M. and Jinling Road E., a short stroll away, if not satisfied with the stores on the Bund.


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