SFST's keynote speech at business luncheon in Los Angeles celebrating 25th anniversary of HKSAR (English only)
Consul General Zhang (Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Los Angeles, Mr Zhang Ping), ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. It is my great pleasure to join you all virtually today at this business luncheon in Los Angeles to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Two and a half decades ago, Hong Kong's return to the motherland marked the beginning of a new era. Today's event is a wonderful occasion for all of us to connect and share the joy of the important milestone.
With the "one country, two systems" principle, underpinned by an open and free market, a robust institutional framework, free movement of capital, a simple and low tax regime, a deep pool of multicultural talents, as well as a fine tradition of the rule of law and an independent judiciary, Hong Kong has made impressive achievements on multiple fronts. It has been recognised as the world's freest economy, the world's No. 4 global financial centre and the fifth-most competitive economy around the globe. Hong Kong is also the world's largest offshore Renminbi (RMB) hub and the world's No. 1 in terms of air cargo throughput. We are also strong in trading and shipping, and are recognised as one of the world's top emerging innovation and technology centres and start-up hubs.
Hong Kong and the US (United States) have deep-rooted ties on many fronts and share a lot of interests in common. We have strong economic and trade relationship as well as people-to-people links.
In terms of trade, the US enjoys the highest surplus in trade in goods with Hong Kong among all economies. Last year, the US was our third-largest trading partner and third-largest export market. The bilateral merchandise trade between Hong Kong and the US amounted to over US$66.4 billion, representing an increase of more than 19 per cent over the year before.
Some 1 200 US companies call Hong Kong home, with over half of them serving as regional headquarters or offices. This strong preference making Hong Kong the base where they oversee regional operations in Asia speaks clearly of the strong confidence US companies have in Hong Kong's enduring advantages.
The exemplary achievements over the years demonstrate that the unique advantages of "one country, two systems" have scripted a success story for Hong Kong. So looking ahead, we will continue to leverage our unique strengths and maintain an international outlook while, at the same time, connecting ever more closely and deeply with our motherland.
Hong Kong is blessed with immense opportunities, secured by the National 14th Five-Year Plan and development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). Our financial and professional services adhere to the best global practices and standards, giving confidence to everyone looking to do business in Hong Kong. You will definitely find Hong Kong an excellent platform in tapping the tremendous business potential in the GBA, Mainland China and beyond.
To prepare for the opportunities ahead, we actively introduce measures to enhance Hong Kong's appeal as a destination for listing and asset management, facilitate cross-boundary financial collaboration between Hong Kong and the Mainland, and expand offshore RMB business, as well as promoting fintech.
In terms of securities, Hong Kong has been a leading fund raising hub around the globe. The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong has ranked first for seven years in terms of Initial Public Offering (IPO) funds raised in the past 13 years. While we remain a very popular fundraising venue for different enterprises, we continue to strive to develop Hong Kong into a deeper and broader fundraising platform. We have already allowed pre-revenue biotechnology companies to list in Hong Kong; and we have become the world's second-largest biotech fundraising hub, second only to the Nasdaq. We will continue to introduce reforms to our listing regimes to embrace the new economy and improve market quality, thereby strengthening the competitiveness of Hong Kong for issuers, including those in the US.
In terms of asset and wealth management, the business in Hong Kong amounted to around US$4.6 trillion as at end-2021, with 65 per cent of funds sourced from non-Hong Kong investors. Premised on the opportunities brought by the economic growth and wealth creation in Asia, Hong Kong is well-positioned to play a greater role in international asset and wealth management. As you may be aware, we are working on a legislative proposal to provide tax concessions for eligible family-owned investment holding vehicles managed by single family offices.
To allow more convenient access of the Mainland capital markets by international institutional investors through Hong Kong, we are progressively expanding the scope of our Connect schemes with the Mainland, including the launch of a new Swap Connect that enables access in interest rate swap markets in the near future.
Last but not least, we have also been doing a lot to facilitate the fintech development in Hong Kong. We are home to over 600 fintech companies and start-ups, including a few unicorns, globally respected research centres and innovation laboratories, etc. To promote fintech, we have launched funding schemes to encourage financial institutions to partner with fintech companies to conduct proof-of-concept projects on innovative financial services products. We are also taking forward formation of a one-stop sandbox network with the Mainland to assist financial institutions and information and tech companies to test cross-boundary fintech applications. Our flagship event for fintech, i.e. Hong Kong Fintech Week 2022, will be held October 31 to November 4, and I am sure that some of you will join us.
Ladies and gentlemen, 25 years has passed, and Hong Kong is still the city of hope for us; only that it is growing more and more intriguing and thrilling for businesses, talent, tourists and the world. Opportunities are everywhere in Hong Kong. We welcome talent from all over the world to take advantage of the opportunities of this vibrant Asia's world city. With various immigration schemes tailored to support talent looking to work and live in Hong Kong, we make it easy for our overseas communities to join us in exploring the exciting prospects of the city. For businesses, Hong Kong will definitely be your prime partner in tapping the vast business potential in the GBA, Mainland China and beyond in many more years to come.
On this positive note, thank you for having me. I wish you all a fruitful exchange at the programme that follows, and I look forward to seeing you in the US in person in the near future. Thank you.
Ends/Friday, October 28, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:15
Issued at HKT 16:15