And to the Next 21 Years!
Written by
Jun 16, 2021

Greetings! 大家好! Hola!

This is my fourth week at HKEX, and I have been enjoying every moment. I have been super busy, but I have been blessed by the very warm welcome I received from near and far.

I have spent a lot of my first few weeks here talking with and listening to my colleagues who have been sharing their knowledge of our markets and our business with me. They show great passion for HKEX and the central role that it plays in Hong Kong, and more widely as a connector between China and the world. They have also shared many great ideas on how we can aim even higher and provide even better products and services. I am inspired by their energy and I look forward to working closely with this fantastic team in the months ahead.

This month marks an important celebration for HKEX – it is our 21st birthday! So I wanted to take the opportunity to not only reflect on my first few weeks as CEO, but also to share some of my initial thoughts on our business and what it means to be joining this organisation as it ‘comes of age’ at 21.


21st Anniversary

The past 21 years have seen HKEX grow from a local stock exchange into a leading international exchange group, operating across multiple asset classes and offering a wide range of products and services. Some of HKEX’s growth story can be told in numbers. For example, the total net number of listed companies on our market has tripled in the past 21 years, from 790 to 2,550. And HKEX’s Group revenues in 2000 were $2.3 billion – last year they were $19.2 billion. These show the scale of the business but they don’t fully convey the impact and reach of Hong Kong’s financial markets.

Today, Hong Kong is a top-tier international financial centre – fuelling the dreams and aspirations of new and established businesses, shaping industries and creating jobs. And HKEX is woven into its very fabric, underpinning the sustained economic prosperity of this city and the lives of many beyond it. Some people think of stock exchanges simply as places to transact, but like street markets, they are also forums to share ideas, to connect and to innovate. They provide the backbone for any advanced financial centre, facilitating the flow of capital, funnelling funds to the successful businesses of tomorrow, and ensuring strong risk management and good governance abound. In challenging times a stock market’s resilience and focus can be tested: yet in the past two years, HKEX has grown, prospered, and instilled confidence in the rest of Hong Kong, setting the stage for a new chapter in its growth. Hong Kong should be mighty proud of this home-grown titan that leads in the development of global markets. 


The Next Chapter

I’ve been asked many times in the last few months what attracted me to HKEX, and quite simply I think this business is perfectly placed -- right spot, right time – to capitalise on a super exciting new chapter ahead. We are at the heart of the most international city in China, and the most Chinese city outside of Mainland China.

China’s economic growth and steady financial liberalisation have played a key role in HKEX’s growth over the past 21 years, and we remain poised to benefit from these and other macro trends in the years ahead.

Examples of these trends include: facilitating the cross border capital flows between China and international markets that will continue to grow as Mainland China further opens up. HKEX is perfectly placed through its Connect programmes, and its close partnership with Mainland exchanges, to support this expected exponential increase in volumes and flow. HKEX must continue to strengthen its international competitiveness and relevance to Mainland China by bringing more diversified products and risk-management tools to the market, while serving the growing appetites of Mainland investors and international investors alike. Against a fractious macro backdrop, our role as gateway is perhaps more relevant and more needed than ever before.

Secondly, I see great opportunity in funding the growth of the New Economy, including biotech. These are the companies that will shape our markets in the decades to come. Since the launch of HKEX’s new listing rules in 2018, we have become the second largest market in the world for biotech capital raising, and our pipeline looks strong. Covid has put global health in the spotlight, and we are committed to supporting both corporates and investors in this sector, making Hong Kong a true biotech hub, welcoming participants not just from China but from around the world.

Thirdly, HKEX has a bright future as a sustainability leader in Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area and across Asia. HKEX is helping to create a transparent, diverse and deep green finance ecosystem to fuel Asia’s corporate sustainability journey. We were a pioneer in setting listed company ESG standards, and we are vocal advocates of the importance of responsible business. I am confident that this commitment to the future of our business, our markets and our planet will pay off in the long term – building our collective prosperity.

As I complete my first month as CEO I am just as excited about what lies ahead for Hong Kong, as I was when I first came to work in this fantastic city nearly a decade ago. It is a place of great adaptability and great dynamism, and throughout history it has always flexed and morphed to embrace change. It is a true city of reinvention and I am looking forward to playing my role in shaping the path ahead.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make HKEX what it is at 21. Let’s raise a toast to the next 21!