Hong Kong will remain a great financial centre – only the colour of the money will be different
Hong Kong has never stopped changing, and each decade has its particular character. I remember the 1970s as sedate and colonial, the 1980s as a period of incredible growth, the 1990s as uncertain and volatile, the 2000s as a period of blue-sky ambition – and, in the 2010s, we appreciated that the Chinese economy was the boss as we rode on its coattails.
So what of the 2020s? As investors, we must see through a glass darkly and prepare ourselves by developing a scenario for how the Hong Kong economy is being transformed. Hong Kong as part of sovereign China is becoming a red city, inevitably with more mainland Chinese characteristics, but also a few of its own.
We will remain an entrepot and international financial hub as we become more dedicated to serving the second-largest economy in the world. Becoming a red city is not a negative thing – it is just different.
This kind of change just happens. As they say in America, “It’s the economy, stupid.” The best course for Hong Kong – as it has been for the past 179 years – is to let the change take place, without too much interference from any government.