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Dispatch from Moganshan, East China

Shanghai is the financial capital of the far east. But just try cashing a cheque

By Mark Kitto   February 2011

A banker friend from Britain out here on a whirlwind business trip borrowed some local currency from me. He wanted to repay me promptly, so while in Shanghai he drew a cheque from a major national bank. He posted it from Hong Kong. It arrived 34 days later.

I took the cheque to my bank, also a major national one. The teller laughed. “No way can we cash this. It’s from a different bank. Besides, it’s expired.” (Chinese cheques are generally valid for one month.) Her advice: “Go to the bank where your friend drew it. Try to find the…

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