Speech by CE at Grand Opening of HKEx Data Centre (English only)(with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the Grand Opening of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) Data Centre today (January 31):

CK (Chairman of HKEx, Mr Chow Chung-kong), Charles (Chief Executive of HKEx, Mr Charles Li), ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning.

     Thank you, CK, for inviting me to the Grand Opening of the HKEx's new Data Centre.

     First of all, I congratulate HKEx on the completion of this state-of-the-art infrastructure. This Data Centre will enhance HKEx's wide-ranging initiatives to advance our market, including the trading of "dual tranche, dual counter" shares in both Renminbi and the Hong Kong dollar, and the setting up of the Central Counterparty for clearing over-the-counter derivative transactions. It will also help to strengthen Hong Kong's status as a highly efficient and reliable international financial centre.

     Earlier this month, I launched the Financial Services Development Council, FSDC, to steer the further development, or in the words of the National 12th Five-Year Plan, the elevation of the financial services sector in Hong Kong.

     The mission of the FSDC is to help Hong Kong enhance, elevate and champion our competitive position as an international financial hub. The FSDC will focus on realising the many local and overseas opportunities. It will provide a common platform for the industry to tell government what it expects of government. It will be an ambassador for the industry locally and overseas, and at the same time a capacity builder.

     Among our priorities is to make the best use of the opportunities presented to us by our strong links with the Mainland of China.

     As at the end of last year, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was the second largest in Asia and sixth largest in the world by market capitalisation. Around 1,550 companies are listed on our stock market. Almost half of all listed firms in Hong Kong are Mainland companies. They contributed almost 60 per cent of market cap and 70 per cent of equity turnover last year.

     The National 12th Five-Year Plan specifically states the country's support for Hong Kong's development as an offshore Renminbi business centre and an international asset management centre. Under "One Country, Two Systems", Hong Kong is an ideal "testing ground" for steady market reforms of our country's interest rate and exchange rate regimes, and its gradual realisation of Renminbi capital account convertibility. In the space of just a few years, Hong Kong has become the largest and most liquid Renminbi business centre outside the Mainland. We will consolidate and expand our offshore Renminbi business, especially in the areas of cross-border Renminbi trade settlement, and issuance of offshore Renminbi bonds and securities products.

     Just last month in Beijing during my duty visit, the Central Government clearly indicated to me that the Central Government would adopt policies to promote the development of Hong Kong's Renminbi clearing platform.

     On the other hand, we are pursuing different initiatives to enhance our market quality, develop a robust financial system in line with international standards, and provide an open, fair and orderly operating environment for all to thrive. For example, we are working with the HKEx, the Securities and Futures Commission and share registrars to develop a scripless securities market. This will allow investors to hold securities under their names and in scripless form. It will enhance the overall efficiency and competitiveness of our securities market, and maintain an appropriate and improved level of investor choice and corporate governance.

     Ladies and gentlemen, this event marks an important milestone in the development of the HKEx, and underscores the Exchange's commitment to operating a world class financial market in Hong Kong.

     I would like to thank the HKEx as well as our regulators and investors for their contributions to Hong Kong's development as an international financial centre. I am also pleased that this Data Centre is also energy-efficient and among the most environmentally friendly data centres in Asia.

     Once again, congratulations. I wish you all a very successful year ahead.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Thursday, January 31, 2013
Issued at HKT 13:30