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Hong Kong's future as a global financial center

Hong Kong's emergence as a global financial center has been one of our city's great success stories... and we are just getting started. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), I see many opportunities ahead: Closer financial connectivity with the Chinese mainland, the rise of green and sustainable finance and the huge potential for growth and prosperity in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) are just a few areas where Hong Kong enjoys important competitive advantages over other international financial hubs.

In March 2022, the Global Financial Centres Index again ranked Hong Kong the top financial center in Asia and third in the world. The latest World Investment Report 2021, published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, ranked Hong Kong the world's third largest recipient of foreign direct investment in 2020, trailing only the United States and the mainland.

Despite the continuing pandemic and geopolitical tensions that have been disrupting the global economy, Hong Kong managed to achieve strong economic growth of 6.3 percent in 2021. Even in the face of the adverse impact of the fifth wave of COVID-19, we expect full-year GDP growth of between 1 and 2 percent in 2022.

What makes Hong Kong unique and how are we responding to external stresses? And why does the future look promising for Hong Kong?

Hong Kong's uniqueness stems from the "one country, two systems" framework, the cornerstone of our economy and society. Together with the rule of law and our formidable institutional strengths, they are the defining advantages that have long propelled Hong Kong's success as an international center for finance, commerce and trade.

Looking ahead, the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) and Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 strategically affirm the role and positioning of Hong Kong in the overall development of our country, presenting opportunities in various areas of importance. That plan expressly supports Hong Kong in consolidating and enhancing our status as an international financial, transport and trade center, as well as a center for international legal and dispute-resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region.

It also champions Hong Kong's development in four emerging areas: as an international aviation hub, an innovation and technology hub, as a regional intellectual property-trading center, and as a hub for international cultural exchange between our country and the rest of the world.

In achieving these goals, Hong Kong will deploy its unique role as a bridge between the mainland and the rest of the world, while helping mainland companies explore opportunity in international markets.

Our advantage here is unrivalled. Hong Kong is as national as it is international. Let me use the financial sector as an example of how we thrive as one of the world's major hub cities, as well as our country's international financial center.

Hong Kong continues to be one of the leading listing centers in the world. Last year, funds raised through initial public offerings (IPOs) reached over $40 billion. Indeed, we have topped the world seven times in the past 13 years in terms of IPO funding.

We are continuously on the lookout for ways to enhance the competitiveness of our listing platform. A major move a few years back was to allow emerging and innovative enterprises with weighted voting rights structure as well as pre-revenue or pre-profit biotechnology companies to list in Hong Kong and facilitate qualifying issuers to seek secondary listing in Hong Kong.


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