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Hong Kong Digest

May 13, 2024

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InvestHK New York launches “Meet an Expert” series

Invest Hong Kong in New York (InvestHK New York) has launched its “Meet An Expert” series as part of its ongoing efforts to provide useful information on specific Hong Kong business topics to the relevant sectors in New York. In the debut session (May 9), Managing Director of Regulatory Compliance, Asia at IQ-EQ Philippa Allen was invited to share her insights on fintech regulations in Hong Kong at a fireside chat with Head of Business and Talent Attraction/Investment Promotion of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York (HKETONY) Ranjit Unnithan. In her welcome remarks, Director of HKETONY Maisie Ho underscored the breadth and depth of Hong Kong’s financial services sector. “In 2023, Hong Kong made it into the top 10 global ranking for the first time, coming in ninth globally and fourth in Asia in terms of fintech investment,” she said. Supported by the HKETONY and the Hong Kong Association of New York, some 40 guests attended the session.


Hong Kong’s role as talent hub reinforced

More than 1,200 international and Mainland leaders from political, academic, business and other sectors attended the Global Talent Summit · Hong Kong (May 7 – 8), organised by Hong Kong Talent Engage. Delivering welcome remarks, Chief Executive John Lee said that talent is the prime resource and driving force that boosts economic development and competitiveness, adding that in Hong Kong, talent gets to thrive and grow in a world-class economy. Hong Kong is the only Asian city with as many as five universities in the world’s top 100, and they are home to some of the world’s top 10 schools covering various disciplines, according to the latest Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings.


Swap Connect arrangements enhanced

A series of measures have been introduced (May 13) to enhance the mutual access arrangements between the Mainland and Hong Kong interest rate swap markets (Swap Connect), and further foster the collaborative development of the derivatives markets in the two places. These measures include accepting interest rate swap contracts with payment cycles based on the International Monetary Market dates for clearing to enrich the product types and align with mainstream products traded globally; introducing compression service and the clearing of backdated swap contracts as the associated supporting arrangement to improve the ancillary services and facilitate participating institutions to manage the notional amount outstanding as well as lower capital costs; and rolling out other system enhancements and incentive programs to reduce the participation costs of Mainland and overseas investors.

Pilot launch of Shenzhen-Hong Kong cross-boundary data validation platform 

The pilot launch of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong cross-boundary data validation platform started on May 6, using blockchain technology and data coding (i.e. hash values) for document verification without involving any cross-boundary transfer or storage of the original documents. The platform provides a credible means for validating the authenticity of the documents presented by the data owners. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has been working closely with Mainland authorities in facilitating the development of fintech innovation and cross-boundary data flow in both Guangdong and Hong Kong. More banks will be encouraged to conduct pilot trials.

Asian Development Bank has Hong Kong’s active support

Financial Secretary Paul Chan attended the 57th annual meeting (May 2 – 5) of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Tbilisi, Georgia. At a Business Session meeting (May 5), he said Hong Kong actively supports the ADB’s work and highlighted the city's unique role as a “super connector” and a multi-level bridge under the “one country, two systems” principle. He added that in areas such as business, investment, innovation and technology, and green transformation, Hong Kong efficiently connects funds and projects, and can create opportunities with ADB members together. He has also met with ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa, Georgia’s Minister of Finance Lasha Khutsishvili, as well as senior officials from other countries and regions.


Hong Kong fencing team wins gold

The Hong Kong men’s foil team won their first and historical gold medal in the Men’s Foil Team event at the FIE Foil World Cup - Hong Kong, China (May 1-4) at AsiaWorld-Expo. Fencers Cheung Ka-long, Ryan Choi, Leung Chin-yu and Lee Yat-long put on excellent performances in front of the home crowd, edging out Italy (45-41) to grab gold. Secretary for Culture, Sports & Tourism Kevin Yeung said the athletes won the well-deserved medals, “showcasing Hong Kong athletes’ perseverance and team spirit.” Over 400 athletes from over 30 countries and regions took part in the event, which served as the final stop of the Foil World Cup this season.


Hong Kong hosts ICCA Congress

A record number of more than 1,300 delegates from over 70 jurisdictions attended the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) Congress (May 5-8) in Hong Kong. Secretary for Justice Paul Lam highlighted Hong Kong’s strengths as a leading international arbitration center, pointing out that Hong Kong is home to many world-class and internationally renowned arbitral institutions including its home-grown Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre. The comprehensive legal framework, pro-arbitration approach by the Hong Kong judiciary and the city’s accessibility to the international legal community are also some of its unique strengths that make it stand out as one of the best venues for international commercial arbitration.


Airport Authority chairman appointed

Fred Lam has been appointed as chairman of the Airport Authority of Hong Kong (AAHK). Dorothy Chan, Ann Kung Yeung and Perry Yiu are the three new members appointed to AAHK’s board, while two serving members, Sabrina Chao and Edwin Tong, have been reappointed. The appointments are for a term of three years and will start from Jun 1. Mr Lam has been the Chief Executive Officer of AAHK since 2014. He has also been appointed to various government advisory and statutory bodies, and has extensive experience in public services.


US congressional report opposed

A report by the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China was strongly disapproved of and opposed by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government (May 11), saying it steadfastly safeguards national sovereignty, security and development interests, and fully and faithfully lives up to the highest principle of “one country, two systems”. With regard to the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office Certification Act mentioned in the report, the HKSAR Government urged the US to stop pushing the act forward, and stressed that it will only damage economic and trade relations between Hong Kong and the US. Earlier (May 10), the HKSAR Government strongly opposed the remarks about the situation in the HKSAR made by US Consul General to Hong Kong Gregory May at a recent forum, and urged the US to make efforts to foster mutual benefit in various areas, including promoting economic and trade relations and cultural exchanges.

Did you know...

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). It provides the guarantees to maintain our existing way of life, including socio-economic development, the rights and duties of Hong Kong people, the rule of law and other areas. Article 23 of the BL stipulates that the HKSAR shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organisations or bodies from conducting political activities in the HKSAR, and to prohibit political organisations or bodies of the HKSAR from establishing ties with foreign political organisations or bodies.


Q: Is it risky to travel to Hong Kong after the new Safeguarding National Security Ordinance comes into effect?

A: No. The HKSAR Government has always welcomed ordinary travelers and businessmen coming to Hong Kong. They will not conduct acts and activities endangering national security and will not unwittingly violate the law, and therefore have no reason to be worried. Moreover, both the Hong Kong National Security Law and the Ordinance clearly stipulate that the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Basic Law, as well as the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as applied to Hong Kong, are to be protected in accordance with the law.

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