Hong Kong’s economy is showing abundant development vitality

“The short-term outlook for Hong Kong’s economy may be challenging due to external factors, but the future is bright. With the continued extensive support from our motherland, Hong Kong’s advantages as an international financial center linking the Mainland to the rest of the world will certainly be consolidated and enhanced.” Speaking at the 16th Asian Financial Forum recently, HKSAR Chief Executive Li Ka-chiu said he was optimistic about Hong Kong’s prospects as the Mainland and Hong Kong resume customs clearance and Hong Kong actively seizes development opportunities.

Organized by the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the Forum is the first major business exchange event in Hong Kong in 2023, with the theme “Advancing Transformation: Creating Efficiency – Inclusion – Innovation”, and was recently held in Hong Kong in an online and offline manner. The forum included more than 40 discussions and workshops, with more than 200 business representatives from around the world attending the venue and over 7,000 people participating online and offline.

Enhancing strength to grasp opportunities

Li said that under the clear guidance of the National 14th Five-Year Plan, Hong Kong is actively enhancing its strength as an international financial center, including strengthening its position as a global offshore RMB business hub and an international asset management and risk management center. “We offer businesses and investors a business environment that enables them to succeed, a regulatory regime that is in line with international standards, free movement of capital and people, and unlimited opportunities as Hong Kong integrates with the country’s development.”

At the forum, many guests have said that the gradual and orderly resumption of customs clearance between the Mainland and Hong Kong has brought strong impetus and positive effects on the overall economy. Huen Wai-yee, chairman of this year’s forum planning committee, said that with the accelerated movement of people and goods between the two places, the demand for cross-border financial services is expected to increase, and the Hong Kong financial sector will deploy its manpower and resources accordingly.

Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, Ms. Leung Fung Yee, said China is committed to market opening and seeks to connect with the world. As an important gateway, Hong Kong will broaden the scope of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect to allow more international investors to access the mainland market. With the resumption of customs clearance between the Mainland and Hong Kong, it will be more convenient and frequent for people to travel between the two places, and products will be launched faster, and more wealth management and risk management tools will be available in the future.

Mr. Lam Kin Ngok, Chairman of HKTDC, said that under the new normal, it is more important than ever for the global community to seek win-win cooperation, and when we work together, we can jointly promote economic growth and create new opportunities.

Helping the global green transition

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon outlined a broad blueprint for sustainable development and shared his views on how to promote multilateral cooperation in a concerted effort to address global challenges, under the theme of promoting sustainable development. Ban called on the world to work together to address global challenges such as climate change. He also praised China’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 and called on countries to unite and accelerate global action.

“There is a huge demand for sustainable infrastructure and green transformation around the world, and Hong Kong can help meet these needs.” Mr. Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR Government, said the country is a strong supporter of international cooperation and global governance, and has proposed a global development initiative in 2021 to promote more inclusive, inclusive and resilient global development. As an international financial center and with its professional services strength, Hong Kong can contribute to global environmental goals.

Green and sustainable finance is the future trend. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) President Jin Liqun said the ADB is promoting greater regional cooperation and expects to mobilize funds for issues such as climate change and to invest in green and sustainable bonds in Asia. As a major global foreign exchange market, Hong Kong is well positioned to become a green financial center in Asia. Last year, Hong Kong’s new stock listings, 70% of the total capital raised involved the new economy, reflecting the transparency of Hong Kong’s capital market governance model, in line with international standards, has a strong capital-raising capacity, I believe that Hong Kong will continue to be one of the world’s most important financial center.

Polishing Hong Kong’s golden signboard

This year’s Forum resumed offline and then moved to an online platform for several days, holding over 600 matchmaking sessions to promote more substantive cooperation. Industries covered include digital technology and media, medical technology, education, infrastructure and real estate services, etc.

As Asia’s leading annual financial forum, this year’s forum has received high attention from the Hong Kong media. The Hong Kong Wen Wei Po commented that this is the first physical forum held in Hong Kong after the first phase of the resumption of customs clearance between the Mainland and Hong Kong, attracting the attendance of global financial leaders, once again highlighting the solid status of Hong Kong as an international financial center and its obvious advantages. This year, the global economy is facing challenges, the Asia-Pacific region is still performing well in terms of growth, Hong Kong should be more proactive in playing the role of backing the motherland and connecting to the world, enhance financial competitiveness, and seize the opportunity of steady economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region to make the advantage more solid.

The editorial of Hong Kong Ta Kung Pao pointed out that the forum was well attended, with more offline participants than ever before. This fully proves that Hong Kong’s economy is fully recovering, showing abundant development vitality and momentum, reflecting Hong Kong’s competitive advantages as an international financial center. This year, the HKSAR Government successfully offered US$5.75 billion equivalent of green bonds in US dollars, Euros and RMB, and received an enthusiastic subscription response, hitting the first shot of the new year. This shows that Hong Kong’s active expansion of the bond market has achieved results, and the green financial market is rising in global status, which is expected to polish Hong Kong’s golden signboard and create a new growth point.