Canadian business sector briefed of Hong Kong's advantage as a global financial centre (with photos)

     The Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Toronto, Miss Gloria Lo, told the Canadian business sector today (December 2, Montreal time) that capitalising on the advantages under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, Hong Kong will continue to develop its financial services which is one of the important pillars of its economy.

     Speaking to business professionals at a Montreal business forum organised by the M&A Club which is a Canadian not-for-profit corporation, Miss Lo remarked that Hong Kong holds a unique position in the increasingly integrated global financial system and remains the third major global financial centre after New York and London, according to the latest Global Financial Centres Index.

     "Hong Kong is one of the favourite places for capital raising particularly through our securities market which is the sixth in the world and second in Asia in terms of market capitalisation," she said.  

     "Hong Kong also has a vibrant insurance market with the highest concentration of insurers and highest insurance density in Asia," Miss Lo added.

     The forum also heard that while Hong Kong is home to as many as 72 of the world's 100 top banks currently, and that the city enjoys an impressive growth of more than 27 per cent in combined fund management business from 2012 as well.

     In explaining Hong Kong's advantages under the Basic Law, Miss Lo remarked that Hong Kong is a unique place which has the best of both worlds under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle.  "As a special administrative region of China, Hong Kong enjoys close proximity to the Mainland, and easy access to the fast growing Mainland markets through various trade facilitation measures under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangements with the Mainland," she said.

     "Being the world's freest economy, Hong Kong has a sound legal system based on the common law and an independent judiciary.  The city also enjoys a simple and low taxation and a free flow of capital, among other advantages.

     "Hong Kong is an ideal place for business and investment for companies and entrepreneurs around the world," Miss Lo added.
     The forum participants also heard that as the leading Renminbi (RMB) offshore business centre, Hong Kong enjoys a remarkable growth in trade settlement, financing and asset management in the currency.

     "Our city has a vibrant RMB bond market, providing a great platform for companies, financial institutions and public bodies to raise funds in RMB and to finance their investments in the Mainland," Miss Lo pinpointed.  

     Referring to the issuance of RMB sovereign bonds by the Ministry of Finance twice this year in Hong Kong, amounting to RMB28 billion in addition to the RMB23 billion issued last year, Miss Lo said it is an indication of the continuous support of the Central Government to the development of RMB offshore business in Hong Kong.
     In talking about the latest launch of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, Miss Lo told the forum that it marks an important milestone for the liberalisation of Mainland's capital account and a further internationalisation of RMB. "This pilot scheme would certainly help to reinforce Hong Kong's position as a premier offshore RMB centre," Miss Lo said.  

     Hong Kong has long enjoyed close social and business ties with Canada and there is a potential for further advancing the bilateral trade relations. "With the positive prospect of having the first North America RMB trading hub set up in Canada, there will be potential for more business and collaboration between Hong Kong and Canada in financial services," she further added.
     The Asian Financial Forum 2015, which will be held in Hong Kong next January, is another opportunity for the business communities around the world to build up networks, gather the latest market intelligence and explore business opportunities in China and the rest of Asia through Hong Kong, Miss Lo told the forum.

Ends/Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Issued at HKT 01:02