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HK official points out the city's potential role in China's capital market reform


17:45, May 10, 2013

HONG KONG, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong could play a continuous role in China's capital market reform in four potential areas - renminbi internalization, mainland companies' "going out", asset management service and to manage part of China's foreign exchange reserve, said Laura Cha, chairman of Hong Kong's Financial Service Development Council, here on Friday.

Addressing a meeting held by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AmCham Hong Kong), Cha said Hong Kong's success has always been based on its ability to leverage the close tie with and knowledge of the Chinese mainland, and as China liberalizes capital market, Hong Kong should highlight several areas to consolidate its position as an international financial center.

First, Hong Kong should continue seizing the opportunities arising from renminbi internalization, Cha said. She said the city has already benefited as a first mover and has become the largest renminbi offshore center to date.

The renminbi deposit has increased rapidly in the last 12 months, and Hong Kong needs to have more renminbi-denominated products in parallel, Cha said, adding the coming dual-currency IPO in HK dollar and renminbi will diversify the products and further develop the dim sum bond market, while the renminbi insurance products will also be welcomed.

Secondly, Cha said Hong Kong has helped mainland companies raise capital on the global market in the last 20 years, and now should capture the chance of mainland firms "going out".

She said there will be many companies wishing to conduct overseas acquisitions as the corporate sector on the mainland matures, and that is where once again Hong Kong could play an intermediary role between mainland companies and global players.

In addition, Cha said the need for wealth management services and products will also increase as private wealth accumulates on the Chinese mainland, while the removal of state duty in Hong Kong and the upcoming reform of the trust law will improve attractiveness of the city as a wealth and asset management center.

Another area with potential business for Hong Kong is the management of part of China's huge foreign exchange reserve, Cha said, adding the initiative will cement Hong Kong's position as a regional asset management center if it was given a small part of foreign exchange reserve to manage.

Cha also said the listing of the mainland companies in Hong Kong in the last two decades helped elevate the city to be an international financial center, citing there are now some 740 Chinese-related firms listed in Hong Kong, accounting for 57 percent of total market capitalization.

She said the efforts of Hong Kong regulators and the compliance by the Chinese companies enable Hong Kong to meet the expectation of the international investors.

The one-day meeting under the theme "Hong Kong's Role in China' s Next Round of Reforms" was AmCham Hong Kong's annual China conference. It attracted around 300 participants, with 20 CEOs and top scholars giving five panel discussions.

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