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Hong Kong a ‘super connector’ between mainland and world: financial experts

By Fang Tian (People's Daily Online)    14:27, January 17, 2018

Hong Kong has been coined a “super connector” between the mainland and the world owing to its geological advantages and significant strategic positioning, Chinanews.com reported Tuesday at the 2018 Asian Financial Forum (AFF) in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong and the mainland have established long-term financial cooperation, and become closer over the past three years, said Laura Cha Shih May-lung, Chairwoman of the Financial Services Development Council of Hong Kong SAR.

The chairwoman noted that Hong Kong has become a real “super connector” since 2014 after China approved the Shanghai-Hong Kong and Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock connects and the mainland-Hong Kong bond connect. These connectivity programs consolidate Hong Kong’s position as an international financial center.

Many countries are eager to trade with China, but reluctant to change their trade practices, legal structures, and infrastructures. Therefore, Hong Kong can work as a bridge, said Hong Kong Stock Exchanges (HKSE) Chief Executive Charles Li, adding that stock connect programs help overcome differences between trading systems and benefit Hong Kong’s financial development.

Norman Chan, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), agreed that Hong Kong serves as a connector between China as a whole and other countries, no matter in commodity transactions or financial services.

Many people have noticed the attractions of Hong Kong as a trading and investment platform, said Chan. Data show that Hong Kong has been the major source of foreign direct investments (FDI) into the mainland since reform and opening up, accounting for 50-60 percent every year. Over the last decade, China’s outward FDI has risen from $26 billion to $200 billion, while 50-60 percent of deals are made through Hong Kong.

Chan believes that Hong Kong’s long-existing strategic strengths, including the advantageous “One Country, Two Systems” position and a well-established law system, will cement Hong Kong as a gateway between the mainland and international investors in the future.

Zhu Min, former Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, also acknowledged Hong Kong’s gateway position in trade and finance. Zhu suggested Hong Kong pay attention to the changing global economic structure and follow the big trends.

Experts at AFF noted that Hong Kong will embrace more opportunities of development as the Belt and Road Initiative rolls out, and achieve win-win results by connecting China and the world.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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