HK must secure status as a global financial center to sustain growth
Despite rising global economic uncertainties, the recent Central Economic Work Conference said that thanks to its sound economy and sustainable growth, the Chinese mainland will continue to support Hong Kong's economic development. The CEWC also urged the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to take measures to consolidate its status as an international financial center.
The mainland, the conference said, will accord priority to "economic stability" in 2020, and take steps to ensure reasonable growth in terms of both quality and quantity. Which means even against the backdrop of global economic uncertainties, the mainland will maintain steady growth and, thanks to its nearly 1.4 billion population and huge demand, continue to be the largest and most reliable source of support for Hong Kong's development.
According to the CEWC, the central government will expedite its regional development plan, give full play to the comparative advantages of different regions, advance the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, accelerate financial system reform and improve the basic system of its capital market. This also indicates the direction of the SAR's development and the sort of changes it should make in its development policies next year.
The construction of the Greater Bay Area will not only pave the way for a new round of reform and opening-up leading to higher-level development, but also promote national rejuvenation. Therefore, the integration of the Greater Bay Area, especially the integration of some cities in Guangdong province neighboring Hong Kong, has become one of the important goals to achieve.
In the Greater Bay Area construction, if Hong Kong uses its advantages in international finance and scientific and technological research to the optimum level, and boosts its manufacturing capacity, it can get aboard the country's "high-speed" development train. Which in turn will help Hong Kong's economic transformation and enable it to offset the losses it suffered due to the months-long violent demonstrations.
In particular, in the field of life science, the SAR can leverage the mainland's medical market and the booming industrial development to attract more mainland enterprises to enlist on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and thus consolidate its status as the world's second-largest capital-raising center for life science stocks.
By doing so, Hong Kong will attract bigger global institutional investors to invest in the SAR, prompting more foreign analysts to study its life science stocks. Which will attract still more potential overseas life science enterprises to list in Hong Kong, and will help promote the sustainable development of Hong Kong's new economic ecosystem and facilitate its economic transformation.
The CEWC also said the mainland will accelerate the financial system reform and improve the basic system of its capital market next year, which, together with the intensified efforts of some mainland cities neighboring the Hong Kong SAR to develop regional financial markets, financial services and products, will spur the SAR's development.
As one of the world's three major financial centers, Hong Kong should take advantage of the mainland's efforts to reform its financial system and improve the basic system of its capital market to seize new opportunities and fortify its status as a global financial hub and the launching pad for mainland financial companies and investors "going global".
Given the accelerated efforts being made by its neighboring cities on the mainland to promote its financial industry, Hong Kong should meet the challenges and make continuous efforts to give full play to its systemic advantages and highly efficient market.
Hong Kong has all that it needs to strengthen its asset management, insurance and other financial services, attract more capital and enterprises, especially international capital and enterprises, to consolidate its status as one of the world's top financial centers and thus promote its economic development in the new era.
The author is dean of the Hainan University Belt and Road Research Institute. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.