Hong Kong’s top finance executives bank on city to thrive as gateway to China

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By Selena Li, Kane Wu and Julie Zhu

HONG KONG, June 27 (Reuters)In 1997, the world watched as Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule, with some pessimistic or wary about the outlook for the town and its position in the international monetary procedure.

Twenty-5 several years later on, Hong Kong has so much retained its position as a economical hub, and some of the city’s leading executives are banking on a vivid future as the territory stays a essential springboard for investment into mainland China.

Charles Li, former chief government of bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) 0388.HK and founder of microfinance system Micro Connect, reported that even though he believes the up coming 25 many years will be “pretty distinctive”, he’s optimistic.

“I’m convinced that the over-all prosperity of Hong Kong will continue being as potent as ahead of because Hong Kong retains its benefit to each sides,” Li explained to Reuters, referring to China and the West.

When he celebrated the handover with pals much more than two many years ago in the city’s bustling nightlife district of Lan Kwai Fong, Li stated several people today saw it as the “starting of a quite prolonged experience, and the greatest is however to occur.”

On Friday, Hong Kong reaches the midway mark of a 50-calendar year experiment developed to give the metropolis a large degree of autonomy beneath Chinese rule.

Critics of the federal government say political and civil liberties have been vastly curtailed, specially considering the fact that the introduction of a countrywide safety law in 2020.

The finance sector has thrived given that the handover. The benefit of Hong Kong’s inventory industry has surged to HK$27.65 trillion ($3.52 trillion) as of end-June, up from HK$3.2 trillion in 1997 and worldwide buyers have turn into progressively reliant on Hong Kong to trade mainland shares.

Turnover on the Hong Kong-Shanghai inventory join pipeline – which presents accessibility to carefully controlled mainland funds – jumped to 46.5 billion yuan on June 22, up from 12.8 billion yuan when it released in 2014, according to facts from HKEX.

On the Hong Kong-Shenzhen stock link channel, turnover stands at about 58 billion yuan, up from 2.7 billion yuan at its launch in 2016.

‘INDISPENSABLE’

Even though uncertainty clouds the outlook for political and civil liberties below electoral changes and the sweeping nationwide protection regulation, other business enterprise executives say Hong Kong’s standing as a economical hub will keep intact.

Some enterprise foyer groups and diplomats have expressed concern around the outlook for Hong Kong, provided an exodus of expertise and anxieties about the rule of regulation and judicial independence.

“Hong Kong will keep on being indispensable, (and) also the most aggressive gateway concerning China and the rest of the planet,” Fred Hu, founder and chairman of private equity team Primavera, instructed Reuters. “I never imagine any mainland metropolis, which include some towns I adore, will bypass Hong Kong.”

The town has contended for some of the world’s hottest original general public choices in the latest many years, like Alibaba, the New York-stated e-commerce titan, which journeyed to Hong Kong to increase $13 billion in a secondary listing in November 2019.

Hong Kong has been the world’s top rated inventory exchange by IPO value 7 situations since the handover, most lately in 2019, when 146 providers lifted a overall of $40 billion on the principal board, according to Dealogic details.

In a go that authorities say underscores the worth China attaches to Hong Kong, President Xi Jinping will go to the swearing in of the city’s new leader, John Lee, on Friday as well as celebrations to mark the handover.

“I consider the central government’s intention toward Hong Kong is benign. They really do not want to mess up Hong Kong,” Hu said.

A former stability chief who is sanctioned by the United States, Lee will be intently viewed by a economic industry keen to get back again on keep track of just after crippling COVID-19 restrictions that have triggered an exodus of persons and noticed the border with mainland China mainly shut for two yrs.

David Chin, UBS’ UBSG.S head of investment banking for Asia-Pacific, is optimistic on Hong Kong’s outlook, while he claims China’s position on the world-wide stage is vital.

“Hong Kong is also the worldwide gateway for China,” he stated. “So the foreign partnership, how China interacts with the rest of the planet, is also quite essential for Hong Kong.”

($1 = 7.8490 Hong Kong bucks)

(Reporting By Selena Li, Kane Wu and Julie Zhu Writing by Anne Marie Roantree Modifying by Gerry Doyle)

(([email protected] +852 97387151 Reuters Messaging: [email protected]))

The views and viewpoints expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not automatically mirror individuals of Nasdaq, Inc.

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