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Hong Kong to continue pioneering role for offshore RMB business, CE tells Boao Forum

     Hong Kong will continue its pioneering role in the development of offshore Renminbi business, the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, told the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2014 in Hainan today (April 10).

     "As a first mover in offshore Renminbi business, Hong Kong is happy to see the development of Renminbi business in different parts of the world," Mr Leung said at a dinner session on "Hong Kong's Opportunities and Challenges in the Process of RMB Internationalization".

     "This represents more opportunities for Hong Kong to further develop its leading role in the internationalisation of the Renminbi and further sharpen our city's competitiveness as a financial super-connector linking our country with the rest of the world."

     Also speaking were People's Bank of China Governor Mr Zhou Xiaochuan and China Securities Regulatory Commission Chairman Mr Xiao Gang. The 90-minute dinner session, attended by about 120 delegates, was moderated by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K C Chan.

     The Chief Executive said that Hong Kong became the first offshore location to provide Renminbi banking services in February 2004.

     "By the end of February 2014, the aggregate amount of Renminbi deposits and certificates of deposit in Hong Kong reached RMB1,128 billion, representing the largest pool of offshore Renminbi liquidity in the world," he said.

     "The continued growth of Renminbi liquidity in Hong Kong and elsewhere has been the fundamental driving force behind further innovations in the offshore market, meeting the needs of individuals, enterprises and financial institutions for consumption, investment and capital requirements from around the world."

     Mr Leung said that apart from banking services, offshore business in Hong Kong had expanded to cover Renminbi fund-raising and settlement.

     "Renminbi trade settlement transactions handled by banks in Hong Kong reached RMB3,841 billion for the whole of 2013, a 46 per cent increase over 2012," he said.

     He said that for cross-border investment, the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) Scheme introduced in 2011 had placed the Renminbi firmly on the map of investment currencies.

     "This has facilitated the development of more diversified Renminbi investment products. Subsequently, such RQFII quotas have also been offered to Taiwan, Singapore, London and Paris," he said.

     Earlier today, Premier Li Keqiang announced the establishment of a Shanghai-Hong Kong stock exchange connectivity mechanism, Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect. The Chief Executive said that Hong Kong is grateful for the Central Government's support for Hong Kong's development as the nation's global financial centre.

     "It will reinforce and enhance Hong Kong's position as the premier international financial centre and offshore Renminbi business centre," he said.

     Earlier in the day, Mr Leung attended the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference's Opening Plenary Session, which included a keynote address by Premier Li Keqiang.

     The Chief Executive also attended a session on "The Future of Hong Kong as an International Financial Center" that attracted more than 150 delegates.

     Panellists at this session were Mr Zhou; Mr Xiao; Professor Chan; the Chairman of the Financial Services Development Council, Mrs Laura Cha; the Regional Chief Executive Officer of Greater China, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, Mr Benjamin Hung; former World Bank Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Professor Justin Lin; and Yale School of Management Professor of Finance Professor Chen Zhiwu.

     Mr Leung said this is the first time that the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference has held two events to feature the financial development of Hong Kong. Only one Hong Kong-related event had been held in previous Forums, including a dinner session in 2013 and a luncheon session in 2008.

     "The Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference is a highly regarded, high-level forum with regional and national significance," he said.

     "This has been a very good opportunity to not only support the Forum's work, but to explain in greater detail Hong Kong's unique role in our country's ongoing reform of its financial markets."

     The Chief Executive will depart for Shanghai tomorrow (April 11).

Ends/Thursday, April 10, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:44


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