Strong financial industry underpins social stability

Updated: 2017-03-14 09:13

By Luis Liu(HK Edition)

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The next Hong Kong Special Administrative Region administration must make policies to strengthen the city's status as an international financial center, one of the city's Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) members believes.

"Concerns including social stability, economic development and taxation competitiveness must be addressed," said Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, a CPPCC National Committee member who is also founder and chief executive of Hong Kong-based Christfund Securities.

He made the call just two weeks before Hong Kong's Chief Executive election, scheduled for March 26.

Apart from relevant policies to boost the sector, Cheung also called on the next CE to improve governance skills and prevent social upheaval - such as the unprecedented, intense unrest that occurred in Hong Kong in recent years, including the 79-day illegal "Occupy Central" movement in 2014 and the destructive Mong Kok riot last year.

Strong financial industry underpins social stability

"For investors, social stability is always the top concern when choosing where to place their capital," Cheung said.

For a long time, Hong Kong's reputation as one of world's best cities for "law and order" has boosted investors' confidence, he said. "If we lose it, we may lose everything - the entire financial business," he added.

As economic statistics and tax incentives are also high on investors' lists when making choices, Cheung urged the next CE to introduce relevant policies to strengthen Hong Kong's status as one of the world's top financial centers.

Among the three CE candidates, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has specifically listed economic development high on her election manifesto.

Cheung hoped Lam, former chief secretary for administration, can appoint suitable and professional people to help make favorable policy measures.

"The current administration has put too much energy into dealing with political issues," Cheung said. He hoped the next CE can switch more of his or her focus to economic development, which may, in turn, help address the current political deadlock.

Hong Kong is a business city. Most people still want to see their lives better off after all, Cheung said.

Lam competes with two other CE candidates - former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing. A candidate must win at least 601 votes from the 1,194-strong Election Committee - responsible for choosing the city's head - before he or she can be appointed by the central government.

(HK Edition 03/14/2017 page5)