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Hong Kong stronger as global financial hub with national security law

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-08-02 08:57

-- From investors to businesses, stakeholders have been more optimistic since the national security law in Hong Kong took effect;

-- Over the past years, Hong Kong's closer financial ties with the mainland, which feature bond and stock trading programs, have cemented its status;

-- "There is no better place in Asia to operate the regional office of a multinational than Hong Kong," a businessman from the United States said.

Guests pose for a group photo during a ceremony themed on National Security Education Day in Hong Kong, April 15, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

HONG KONG - One year after the introduction of the national security law in Hong Kong, the international financial hub has retained, if not enhanced, its global appeal with the restoration of a peaceful business environment.

Competitive as before

Hong Kong remains a competitive and attractive financial center, Nicolas Aguzin, chief executive of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX), has said.

"It is home to open, globalized and transparent markets, robust infrastructure, internationally-aligned regulatory regimes, the rule of law, the free flow of information and capital, and a deep pool of talent," said Aguzin, who joined HKEX in May after working in Hong Kong for nine years at JPMorgan.

From investors to businesses, stakeholders have been more optimistic since the national security law in Hong Kong took effect on June 30, 2020.

Photo taken on July 31, 2021 shows the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in Hong Kong. [Photo/Xinhua]

A sequence of positive changes has taken shape. There was neither a capital flight nor exodus of foreign firms, and quite the opposite, major global financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, have maintained or planned to increase their presence here.

"The law has proved effective in restoring law and order and guaranteeing a stable and predictable environment, where investment is protected and companies feel more secure to operate," said Liang Haiming, a Hong Kong-based economist.

Figures do not lie. Over HK$300 billion ($38.6 billion) flowed into Hong Kong from July to October 2020, and there was also a capital net influx for the whole of 2020. As one of the major bourses in the world, HKEX witnessed an over-50-percent year-on-year increase in IPO fund-raising in 2020, while assets under management here amounted to nearly HK$35 trillion($4.5 trillion), up 21 percent from the year before.

The IMF recently reaffirmed Hong Kong's status as an international financial center, citing its resilient financial system as well as the policies and regulatory frameworks. Hong Kong was also the third-largest recipient of foreign direct investment last year, according to a report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

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