It's one of Parkinson's laws that a large corporation will confidently construct an expensive new headquarters immediately prior to its bankruptcy. Just so with the hubristic banks; as new brash towers arose on Canary Wharf, so the banks failed, rescued only by the largesse of Brown's government, a largesse that has been repaid with singular ingratitude and the rapacious fleecing of the banks' customers. Barclays and HSBC benefited, albeit indirectly, from the bail out as much as the more prominent casualties. And now in a little piqued fit of petulance, HSBC shareholders are mooting moving the bank's 52,000 staff to Shanghai. This won't happen, for two reasons.
Firstly, corporate location is a long-term game, at least a 25-year decision. As China's economy dominates the world, big corporations will undoubtedly relocate there in time, but slowly, with Chinese staff making up the bulk of the Headquarters population. The 'shadow' HQ needs time to grow and establish, with a gradual transfer of HQ functions, so that when the move comes, it's effectively just the Chief Executive and a few top-table executives who move. The senior Chinese staff will all have spent several years working in the existing HQ by then. On an organisational level, the corporate shift to China is about ten years away at least.
Secondly, the task of moving 52,000 bankers is as nothing to moving 52,000 wives and 104,000 children away from their rotary clubs and boarding schools, Lutyens-clone homes in Surrey, ponies, grandmothers, Waitroses and cosy social circles. And for many bankers the prospect of a Chinese prison or a round from an AK47 in the back of the head if they screw-up again will be far less attractive than a wagging finger and a frown from the Bank. The BBC can't even get a few hundred broadcasters to move up the road to Manchester without major grief, and HSBC won't even contemplate a mass move to Shanghai.
In Stalin's words, it's safe to push the bayonet in a bit further. It hasn't yet encountered real resistance.