Speech by FS at 2023 Davos-Caixin CEO Luncheon (English only) (with photo)
Shuli (Founder of Caixin, Ms Hu Shuli), Professor Summers (President Emeritus and Charles W Eliot University Professor, Harvard University, and former Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, Professor Lawrence Summers), Zhongxia (Director-General, International Department, People's Bank of China, Mr Jin Zhongxia), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. It's a great pleasure to be with you, in Davos, for the World Economic Forum's annual meeting and today's Caixin CEO Luncheon.
Particularly at a time when Hong Kong is now back to business. After a few years of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are quickly returning to normalcy. Our anti-epidemic measures have been largely uplifted. Normal travel with the Mainland and the world has resumed, with generally no quarantine, no restriction of movement for incoming travellers.
The Mainland is also opening up faster than expected, which provides impetus for better growth prospects for the world this year and beyond.
Speaking of unleashing the potential of Asia – the theme of today's discussion, I am happy to offer some perspectives from Hong Kong.
Despite the rather gloomy recent global economic outlook, Asia's growing prominence in the medium to longer term is clear. The global economic gravity continues to shift eastwards. China, the ASEAN, the Gulf Region, etc. are all burgeoning, with aggressive infrastructural and development programmes that will drive a new wave of growth in the decades to come. Despite de-globalisation attempts by some countries, China has reaffirmed its commitment to opening to the world, and has set sights on pursuing high-quality development led by innovation and technology and green transition.
Hong Kong's IFC status will certainly help underpin this progress, in many different ways. Under the "one country, two systems" policy, Hong Kong is the only place where the China advantages and the world advantages converge. We connect the Mainland capital market and investors with those in the international arena. Allow me to highlight a few promising areas.
First, Hong Kong will play a more pivotal role in the two-way opening up of the Mainland's capital markets to the rest of the world. Over the years, Connect Schemes with the Mainland have been developing and deepening, first from stocks to bonds and then to ETFs. The latest addition is including eligible international enterprises listed in Hong Kong into Southbound Trading, thus enhancing their value by allowing them access to both international and Mainland liquidity. At the same time, the Connect Schemes are covering more risk management tools such as the MSCI China A50 Connect Index futures contract, the Bond Futures contract and the Interest Rate Swap Connect.
These efforts will also help the internationalisation of RMB. As the popularity of RMB as a trading and reserve currency is growing, Hong Kong will continue to upgrade our RMB market infrastructure and offer more RMB-denominated investment and risk management tools.
Second, Hong Kong will further enhance our status as a global fund raising centre. Hong Kong's stock and bond markets are highly liquid and vibrant. Hong Kong is the ideal place for Mainland and Asian companies to list – because they will be able to tap both international and Mainland capital.
Development of our green and sustainable finance has seen much success, to the benefit of green and energy transition of the world. In 2021, the amount of such bonds and debts issued in Hong Kong reached US$57 billion, which grew four times from that in the previous year, and topped Asia. This testifies to the confidence and trust by international investors in Hong Kong's standards and practices.
Third, fintech. Hong Kong has mature fintech infrastructure and a vibrant ecosystem. We have made clear through a policy statement on embracing virtual assets, through putting in place appropriate and proportionate supervision. This is highly welcomed by the market, and many virtual asset innovators from Asia and the world are planning for establishing business in Hong Kong.
If I may add one point: Hong Kong's promising prospects are also vested in our commitment to driving innovation and technology as an engine of sustainable economic growth and quality employment opportunities. We are doing this in the context of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, or the GBA. With a population of around 87 million, the GBA is a burgeoning and thriving region that has a high concentration of tech companies and talents, and excels in advanced manufacturing. Hong Kong's distinctive edges are in R&D and marketing; Shenzhen in prototyping and commercialisation; and other neighbouring cities in advanced manufacturing. The strengths of Hong Kong and sister cities in the GBA are mutually complementary. In this connection, we are developing the San Tin Technopole along the boundary with Shenzhen, forming a technology co-operation zone of more than five square kilometres on two sides of the Shenzhen river. GBA will emerge as a leading I&T power house in the world.
With IFC and I&T hub, GBA is in a way like combining the strengths of the New York Bay Area and the San Francisco Bay.
Ladies and gentlemen, in many ways, Asia presents a myriad of opportunities and prosperity to the world. Hong Kong is determined to contribute actively to this great work, to the unleashing of potential of Asia.
Ends/Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Issued at HKT 0:51
Issued at HKT 0:51