Thu, Nov 23, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Skyscraper's name change irks Shanghai authorities

AP , SHANGHAI

Delayed for years and partially redesigned, a Shanghai skyscraper that will be one of the world's tallest buildings has hit another snag, this time over its name.

Shanghai media reported yesterday that the city has yet to approve the renaming of the 101-story Shanghai World Financial Center to "Shanghai Hills." The new moniker was announced on Monday by the builder, the Mori Building Co of Tokyo.

"It's like a person can't change his or her name at will without registering with the government," Liu Bo, an official with the Shanghai Urban Planning Administrative Bureau, was quoted as saying in the Shanghai Daily newspaper.

No application to change the name has been received, Liu said.

There were no indications of objections to the new name, although Liu was quoted as saying the builders could face a fine of up to 30,000 yuan (US$3,750) if they open the tower without approval for the name. No one at the bureau was available for comment yesterday.

In its announcement, the Mori company said the name change would bring the property in line with its other projects, including Tokyo's famed Roppongi Hills and Omotesando Hills complexes.

Yesterday, a Mori spokeswoman said the formal registered name of the project remained the Shanghai World Financial Center.

Calling it Shanghai Hills was simply part of the company's branding strategy and wasn't expected to cause administrative problems, she said. The name "Hills" was registered as a Mori trademark in Shanghai, she said.

"I think there has just been some slight confusion," said the spokeswoman, who asked not to be named citing company policy.

Construction of the 492m-tall wedge-shaped building began in the mid-1990s and is due for completion in 2008 at a cost of US$910 million.

The world's tallest skyscraper is the 508m-tall "Taipei 101" building, completed in 2003. It has 101 stories above ground and five below.

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