The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Toronto (Toronto ETO) and the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association (HKCBA) in Canada co-hosted a webinar on July 24 on the latest financial developments and the new national security law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The webinar entitled “Change and Continuity” is presented by the Secretary for Financial Services and Treasury (SFST) of the HKSAR Government, Mr Christopher Hui, and joined by Mr Arthur Chan, National Chair of the HKCBA.
Noting 2020 has been a year of change for the world and Hong Kong is no exception, the state and outlook of Asia’s top financial centre is full of challenges. At the webinar, Mr Christopher Hui, spoke on the latest financial situation in Hong Kong. “With the social unrest and emergence of COVID-19, Hong Kong has gone through a difficult year. That said, our financial markets remain vibrant and orderly. The Hong Kong dollar exchange rate is stable and has stayed near the strong side convertibility undertaking. There has not been any noticeable sign of fund outflow from the banking system but rather, we have seen an inflow of over US$ 11 billion since June. Bank deposits have continued to go up over the past months and we have also seen a continuous flow of IPO activities with stock trading showing remarkable increases,” Mr Hui said.
Though COVID-19 has imposed pressure on economies and financial markets worldwide, Hong Kong’s fundamental strengths remain intact. “A powerful combination of factors, including its prime location, rule of law, high-speed communications, free flow of information and capital, low and simple tax system, continue to make Hong Kong a leading international financial centre,” Mr Hui continued.
Mr Hui pointed out that the HKSAR Government has earmarked HK$6 billion under the Anti-epidemic Fund to create around 30 000 time-limited jobs in both public and private sectors in the coming two years for people of different skill sets and academic qualifications. To support fintech development, the Government has launched the FAST Scheme, offering salary subsidy for fintech companies and start-ups, and other enterprises with fintech-related businesses to create 1 000 new jobs to employ local people and enrich Hong Kong's fintech talent pool.
Looking forward, Mr Hui is optimistic on the financial stability and economy of Hong Kong.
Besides, Mr Hui addressed concern on the new national security law’s implications on the city’s long-term financial stability. “The implementation of the national security law will not have any impact on the normal functioning of the financial markets, nor the normal conduct of businesses. The way in which market participants handle their proprietary data, access or transmit information, conduct commercial analysis or express opinion will not be affected. The law will help restore social stability and with this backdrop, I have every confidence that the financial sector here will continue to develop and thrive,” he said.
Before closing, Mr Hui encouraged Canadian enterprises to tap on Hong Kong’s strengths and status as a global financial centre, an asset and wealth management centre and an offshore RMB business hub, as they expand and invest in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and beyond.
The webinar, moderated by HKCBA National Chair, Mr Arthur Chan, received overwhelming response and support from HKCBA members in Canada. Mr Hui addressed various questions from members after his presentation at the webinar.
Mr. Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government
Mr Christopher Hui Ching-yu was appointed the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury on April 22, 2020. Mr Hui was an Administrative Officer in the Government from 1999 to 2003 and served in the Economic Development Branch, the Office of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in Beijing and the Home Affairs Department. Mr Hui worked in the banking sector after leaving the Government in 2003 and has worked for the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited for over 10 years. He has been the Executive Director of the Hong Kong Financial Services Development Council since 2019. Mr Hui holds Bachelor and Master (Hon) Degrees in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford, and Master of Business Administration Degree from INSEAD. He also attended the Stanford Executive Programme (SEP).