Hong Kong Perspectives: What’s Next for the Global Superconnector?
Jan 27, 2023
10 mins

As the world’s economic centre of gravity pivots East, the untapped opportunities of Asia reveal a new pathway for growth and connectivity. Hong Kong has always played a significant role at the intersection of trade, finance and culture; and now with China’s reopening, Hong Kong’s strengths as a superconnector are again in the spotlight – the city is entering a new phase.

HKEX was proud to again bring together global leaders over breakfast at the World Economic Forum in Davos to take an in-depth look at Asia, the outlook for China and the evolving role of Hong Kong at the confluence of East and West. With over 80 global executives and influencers in attendance, and organised in collaboration with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, this year’s breakfast event was bigger than ever before, drawing distinguished guests from the world of academia, business, finance, technology and the media.

“We are hosting this event because we believe that Asia must play a bigger role in discussions about international cooperation. Despite the uncertainties, the world’s centre of gravity continues to shift East. China, of course, is central to this trend and the recent positive response to China’s economic policies and continued opening up are evidence of this. And, as China’s role in the global economy grows, so will Hong Kong’s role as a superconnector,” said HKEX Chairman Laura M Cha as she kicked off the event.

Commenting on this exciting new chapter for Hong Kong, HKSAR Financial Secretary Paul Chan said: “Hong Kong is now at a new start, full of new opportunities as we resume full connectivity with the world. Our optimism stems from profound changes unseen for a century, with a growing China at the centre of shifting economic and political gravity, characterised by high-quality development, high-standard opening up and growth driven by innovation and technology.” 

William Ford, CEO and Chairman of General Atlantic, gave the second keynote speech of the day, remarking on the exciting range of innovative companies emerging in China and more widely in Asia, but also stressing the necessity of capital market reforms to maintain the attractiveness of Hong Kong as a leading international capital raising venue.

HKEX’s role in implementing listing enhancements and reforms, East-West capital flows, Hong Kong’s role in global markets and the prospects for the Greater Bay Area were among the key topics discussed during the morning.

In a panel discussion moderated by Reuters Breakingviews’ Global Editor, Peter Thal Larsen, HKEX CEO Nicolas Aguzin remarked on how China’s capital markets offer a vast new frontier for international investors and that HKEX’s ongoing Connect programme enhancements will provide investors with new tools and capabilities with which to manage their China investments.

But it’s not just the “China advantage” that Hong Kong has, explained Rachel Lord, Head of Asia Pacific at BlackRock:  “As an investor, you have to put aside the short term and always keep your eye on the horizon. What we will see is vibrancy in Asia over these next few years, and Hong Kong is not just a conduit between China and the rest of the world but also a centre of economics, commerce and trade for all of Asia. And I truly believe that 2023 is the year that Asia will come roaring back.”

Panelist Yat Siu, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Animoca Brands, shared his views on the topic, saying that “Hong Kong may not have as many people as Mainland China, but it does have incredible talent in financial services, which it can blend with the world-leading technology developments coming out of the Greater Bay Area. And this is one of the reasons why a lot of people are very excited about the prospects in this part of the world.”

HKEX was also delighted to welcome Jack So, Chairman of Airport Authority Hong Kong, and Jacob Kam, CEO of MTR Corporation, as speakers and panelists to share their unique perspectives and insights on Hong Kong.  

The event was the perfect example of the connectivity that defines Hong Kong and that also lies at the heart of the philosophy of the World Economic Forum – helping us all to find common ground and create new opportunities for a better future.