By Selena Li, Kane Wu and Julie Zhu

HONG KONG, June 27 (Reuters)In 1997, the globe watched as Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule, with some pessimistic or wary about the outlook for the town and its job in the world-wide economic procedure.

Twenty-5 a long time later on, Hong Kong has so far retained its position as a financial hub, and some of the city’s leading executives are banking on a vivid long term as the territory stays a crucial springboard for financial investment into mainland China.

Charles Li, former chief executive of bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) 0388.HK and founder of microfinance platform Micro Join, claimed that although he thinks the subsequent 25 many years will be “quite various”, he’s optimistic.

“I am confident that the total prosperity of Hong Kong will continue to be as solid as just before mainly because Hong Kong retains its price to both sides,” Li told Reuters, referring to China and the West.

When he celebrated the handover with pals far more than two a long time in the past in the city’s bustling nightlife district of Lan Kwai Fong, Li reported numerous folks observed it as the “commencing of a very long trip, and the very best is nonetheless to arrive.”

On Friday, Hong Kong reaches the halfway mark of a 50-12 months experiment intended to give the city a substantial diploma of autonomy below Chinese rule.

Critics of the authorities say political and civil liberties have been massively curtailed, specifically due to the fact the introduction of a countrywide stability regulation in 2020.

The finance sector has thrived because the handover. The benefit of Hong Kong’s stock market has surged to HK$27.65 trillion ($3.52 trillion) as of end-June, up from HK$3.2 trillion in 1997 and world investors have turn into increasingly reliant on Hong Kong to trade mainland shares.

Turnover on the Hong Kong-Shanghai stock join pipeline – which delivers obtain to closely controlled mainland money – jumped to 46.5 billion yuan on June 22, up from 12.8 billion yuan when it launched in 2014, in accordance to info from HKEX.

On the Hong Kong-Shenzhen inventory join channel, turnover stands at about 58 billion yuan, up from 2.7 billion yuan at its start in 2016.


Though uncertainty clouds the outlook for political and civil liberties less than electoral changes and the sweeping national protection regulation, other small business executives say Hong Kong’s standing as a money hub will remain intact.

Some small business lobby teams and diplomats have expressed problem in excess of the outlook for Hong Kong, presented an exodus of talent and worries around the rule of regulation and judicial independence.

“Hong Kong will continue being indispensable, (and) also the most aggressive gateway amongst China and the relaxation of the environment,” Fred Hu, founder and chairman of private fairness team Primavera, advised Reuters. “I don’t believe any mainland town, including some metropolitan areas I enjoy, will bypass Hong Kong.”

The city has contended for some of the world’s most popular original community choices in current years, such as Alibaba, the New York-listed e-commerce titan, which journeyed to Hong Kong to increase $13 billion in a secondary listing in November 2019.

Hong Kong has been the world’s major inventory trade by IPO value 7 occasions since the handover, most recently in 2019, when 146 businesses elevated a complete of $40 billion on the primary board, according to Dealogic info.

In a shift that authorities say underscores the value China attaches to Hong Kong, President Xi Jinping will go to the swearing in of the city’s new leader, John Lee, on Friday as very well as celebrations to mark the handover.

“I believe the central government’s intention towards Hong Kong is benign. They really do not want to mess up Hong Kong,” Hu reported.

A previous stability main who is sanctioned by the United States, Lee will be closely viewed by a money field eager to get back again on keep track of after crippling COVID-19 limits that have triggered an exodus of people and seen the border with mainland China mainly closed for two a long time.

David Chin, UBS’ UBSG.S head of expense banking for Asia-Pacific, is optimistic on Hong Kong’s outlook, whilst he says China’s position on the world phase is vital.

“Hong Kong is also the international gateway for China,” he explained. “So the international partnership, how China interacts with the rest of the planet, is also very significant for Hong Kong.”

($1 = 7.8490 Hong Kong pounds)

(Reporting By Selena Li, Kane Wu and Julie Zhu Creating by Anne Marie Roantree Enhancing by Gerry Doyle)

(([email protected] +852 97387151 Reuters Messaging: [email protected]))

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