Beijing attaches ‘great importance’ to Hong Kong as country’s global finance hub, Xia Baolong tells local financial regulators

“We should devote our minds to developing the financial market, boosting the stock connect [with mainland China] and expanding the offshore renminbi market.”

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The country introduced a mutual market access in 2014 that allowed investors from Hong Kong to trade in Shanghai’s domestic A-share and vice versa. The agreement was expanded to Shenzhen two years later.

Hong Kong’s treasury minister said Xia also wanted to use Monday’s meeting to hear views from attendees on how the finance industry could continue to thrive in the city.

Hong Kong Monetary Authority CEO Eddie Yue Wai-man, Securities and Futures Commission chief executive Julia Leung Fung-yee and Financial Services Development Council chairman Laurence Li Lu-jen were among those who attended the meeting.

“He also encouraged everybody to tell better stories of Hong Kong at different levels,” Hui said.

“Hong Kong, as an international financial centre, has a very bright record, and representatives of banking and securities could just speak from their professional level, and to brief [outsiders] on the latest financial developments.”

The treasury minister stopped short of saying whether the proposed domestic national security law was raised at the meeting, but said sector stakeholders understood the legislation would ensure a stable environment that supported financial development.

Hui said he also briefed Xia on the city government’s efforts in developing the financial market, pointing to policies promoting connectivity with the mainland, various stock-connect programmes and the pursuit of new fields such as green and sustainable finance.

What ‘facts’ for Beijing’s top man on Hong Kong affairs on his fact-finding mission?

Xia embarked on his fact-finding mission last Thursday and is expected to focus on Hong Kong’s economic development and livelihood issues.

The HKMAO chief is expected to meet representatives from foreign business chambers and patriotic organisations in the afternoon, before visiting the city’s stock exchange alongside corporate representatives and investment promotion agencies in the evening.

Xia dedicated the first day of his visit to meeting top officials and hearing their reports on government efforts covering areas such as the economy, innovation and technology, land and housing, as well as transport and logistics.

He has also met business leaders, members of the legal sector, the media, as well as top political advisory body the Executive Council and various lawmakers during his trip.

Xia is expected to leave the city on Wednesday, just as the finance chief Paul Chan Mo-po unveils his annual budget.


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