As this article is being published, I am visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with several Hong Kong bankers.
In February, the Chief Executive of the HKSAR led a business delegation to the Middle East. That visit has generated strong interest in deepening the economic and trade exchanges between the region and Hong Kong. In anticipation of mutual benefits, many people are keen to strengthen cooperation and explore opportunities for growth and development. This visit builds on the February trip, and seeks to bolster our ties with the financial regulators, sovereign funds, financial institutions and enterprises in the UAE. We hope to create more opportunities and lay a solid foundation for long-term financial cooperation.
To foster the development of Hong Kong’s financial industry, we must continue to broaden our network and look for new market opportunities. Later this year, we will also visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and some ASEAN countries to open up new markets for Hong Kong to continue to grow as an international financial centre. The Hong Kong Association of Banks will also resume its annual visit to the Mainland, which helps us keep abreast of the latest developments in the Mainland’s financial sector and how it is contributing to the national strategy of promoting high-quality economic development. This will help financial institutions in Hong Kong to better leverage their established market presence and active involvement in strengthening mutual access between the Mainland and Hong Kong financial markets, as well as collaboration in the Greater Bay Area (GBA).
Now that Hong Kong has completely re-opened and returned to normalcy, my HKMA colleagues and I have been travelling to the Mainland and overseas to meet officials, financial institutions and corporates to promote Hong Kong’s financial services. While attending meetings at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Switzerland in March and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in the United States in April, I met leaders from global financial institutions and private wealth management firms. At these meetings, I updated them on the renewed momentum of our economy and highlighted the prospects of Hong Kong's financial industry on the capital market and wealth management fronts, including family offices. Two visits to Beijing also gave me an opportunity for in-depth exchanges with colleagues in charge of financial matters at the Central Government, and to map out the next steps for our work including further strengthening the mutual access between the Mainland and Hong Kong financial markets, and deepening Hong Kong’s offshore renminbi business. The HKMA team has also been working with the industry on promoting the Cross-boundary Wealth Management Connect Scheme in the GBA and organising events in major Mainland cities to promote Hong Kong as the location of choice for private equity funds and corporate treasury centres.
Overseas visits are important, but it is equally important to host major international meetings in Hong Kong. We are happy to see major global financial institutions resuming flagship conferences or organising new ones here in recent months, attended by many senior figures from the global and Mainland financial sectors. There were countless side meetings around these events for the visiting executives to establish and renew contacts. It was not uncommon for my colleagues and myself to be receiving five or six groups of visitors a day. Notwithstanding the time commitment, these exchanges proved extremely valuable. Most of the visitors were setting foot in Hong Kong for the first time in several years, and it was very encouraging to see their positive reaction towards the vibrancy and prospects of Hong Kong.
Taking the opportunity of this year being the 30th anniversary of the HKMA, we are organising several international meetings. In March, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision held its meeting in Hong Kong. This happened to coincide with a number of incidents relating to banks in the US and Europe, which brought an added significance to the event. Currently, we are making preparations for two other major events in Hong Kong this November. One is a repeat of the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit held last year. The other is a joint HKMA-BIS high-level conference, which will mark the 25th anniversary of the BIS Representative Office for Asia and the Pacific in Hong Kong and round off our 30th anniversary celebration. Meanwhile, we are also preparing for events related to fintech and green finance, while working with a number of event organisers to arrange international forums and conferences in Hong Kong. More details will be provided in due course.
Hong Kong's unique edge lies in our extensive connections with the Mainland and the rest of the world, and our high degree of internationalisation. The three years of COVID inevitably had some negative impact, but the strong fundamentals of our financial industry remain intact. As long as we play to our strengths and strive to expand our network, Hong Kong will continue to shine as a premier international financial centre.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
29 May 2023