Hong Kong's international hub role is fundamental
The year 2022 marks an important milestone for Hong Kong as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). As we look back, there are plenty of economic achievements that we should be proud of, and as we look forward, we see a bright future ahead thanks to our strong ties with our country's economy.
Let us first look at some of the milestones. Since 1997, Hong Kong's per capita GDP grew by 2.2 percent per annum in real terms, reaching $49,800 in 2021. Total merchandise trade value surged from HK$3,071 billion ($391.34billion) in 1997 to HK$10,268 billion ($1,308.45 billion) in 2021, up by 234 percent. The total stock market capitalization rose from HK$3.2 trillion ($0.41 trillion) in 1997 to HK$42.4 trillion ($5.4 trillion) in 2021. Meanwhile, the number of listed companies rose from 658 to 2572. The average daily turnover of the securities market went up from HK$15.5 billion ($1.98 billion) in 1997 to HK$166.7 billion ($21.24 billion) in 2021. Hong Kong ranks third in the latest Global Financial Centers Index. For these reasons and many more, Hong Kong is a leading international business hub.
Throughout Hong Kong's history, global status helped our economy grow and diversify, and this is more relevant today than ever as we are playing an increasingly key role in our country's continuous economic advancement. At the same time, this also helps us to attract foreign investment from around the world.
As two of our annual surveys show, 9049 overseas and mainland companies in all sizes and sectors were operating in Hong Kong in 2021, and our city has 3755 startups, 28 percent of which are from outside of Hong Kong. This is a strong testament to our global appeal – both at record levels.
We have earned this on our solid foundations of enduring advantages including an ideal geographical location in Asia, free market mechanism, including free flow of capital and people, the rule of law, our internationally-minded talent pool, plus unrivalled connection with the rest of the business world and more.
But the future is brighter still. With this, Hong Kong is well positioned to benefit from the country's dual-circulation economic development model. On the one hand, many foreign companies leverage Hong Kong platform to access the growing domestic demand of Chinese mainland. On the other hand, mainland companies make use of Hong Kong to connect with the rest of the world tapping opportunities from the external demand.
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