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Press Releases

Hong Kong---New Opportunities as an International Financial Centre:
Speech by Mr Joseph Yam

Speaking at the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Seminar in Tokyo about "Hong Kong---New Opportunities as an International Financial Centre" today (Tuesday), Mr Joseph Yam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority outlined a strategy for Hong Kong to make greater contribution to the reform and liberalisation of the Mainland and in the process maintaining Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre.

According to Mr Yam, it is unique for one country, China, to have two financial systems with pronounced differences, and there is now increasing recognition of the need for strengthening the cooperative relationship between the two. Citing a published article on the National Finance Working Meeting held in January this year, Premier Wen Jiabao said that there is a need "to continue to advance financial co-operation between the Mainland and Hong Kong; to further develop a mutually supportive, complementary and inter-active relationship between the financial systems of the Mainland and Hong Kong; and, to strengthen and promote the status and utility of Hong Kong as an international financial centre."

He explained that while the principles and benefits of co-operation between the two financial systems are clear, much work is required on the detail. Any strategy to take co-operation forward would have to take into account circumstances in both the Mainland and Hong Kong. On this, the Eleventh Five-Year Plan approved by the National People's Congress in March 2006 gave clear guidance on what those interests are. Chief Executive Mr Donald Tsang had organised an economic summit on the plan in 2006 and tasked a Focus Group on Financial Services to map out the way forward. The Focus Group had published its report in January 2007.

With regard to the priorities of financial reform on the Mainland, the Report set out three roles that the financial system of Hong Kong can and should play. The first role concerns financial intermediation between the Mainland and the rest of the world; the second concerns assisting domestic financial intermediation on the Mainland; and the third is for Hong Kong to be the laboratory for capital account convertibility of the renminbi and the increasing international use of the currency.

In addressing these needs, Mr Yam explained the strategy, which consists of five key elements, for the financial system of Hong Kong. The first is to facilitate the expanded presence of Hong Kong financial institutions on the Mainland. The second involves working with the Mainland authorities to increase the outward mobility of Mainland investors and fund raisers, and the associated funds, and of financial institutions and instruments. The third element is to develop channels whereby Hong Kong financial instruments, including the H-shares issued by Mainland enterprises in Hong Kong, are made available to investors on the Mainland. The fourth element is to strengthen Hong Kong's ability to handle financial transactions denominated in the renminbi in anticipation of the rising role of the renminbi as an international currency. The fifth element is to strengthen links between the financial infrastructures of the Mainland and Hong Kong.

Mr Yam said that the specific proposals falling within the five key elements of the strategy will benefit China as a whole. The two financial systems in co-operation will serve sustainable and rapid economic growth of China well, in turn benefiting our neighbours in the region and the global economy from a regional and a global dimension.

For further enquiries please contact:
Hing-fung Wong, Officer (Press), at 2878 1802 or
Thomas Chan, Senior Manager (Press), at 2878 1480

Hong Kong Monetary Authority
8 May 2007

Last revision date: 1 August 2011
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