By Selena Li, Kane Wu and Julie Zhu

HONG KONG, June 27 (Reuters)In 1997, the globe watched as Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule, with some pessimistic or wary about the outlook for the metropolis and its position in the global economic method.

Twenty-five a long time later on, Hong Kong has so far retained its standing as a economic hub, and some of the city’s best executives are banking on a brilliant foreseeable future as the territory remains a essential springboard for financial investment into mainland China.

Charles Li, previous main executive of bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) 0388.HK and founder of microfinance system Micro Join, explained that while he thinks the upcoming 25 a long time will be “incredibly distinctive”, he’s optimistic.

“I am persuaded that the overall prosperity of Hong Kong will keep on being as robust as prior to since Hong Kong retains its value to both equally sides,” Li informed Reuters, referring to China and the West.

When he celebrated the handover with friends far more than two many years ago in the city’s bustling nightlife district of Lan Kwai Fong, Li explained many people noticed it as the “starting of a incredibly lengthy ride, and the finest is yet to come.”

On Friday, Hong Kong reaches the midway mark of a 50-year experiment created to give the city a large diploma of autonomy below Chinese rule.

Critics of the governing administration say political and civil liberties have been massively curtailed, in particular considering that the introduction of a countrywide protection regulation in 2020.

The finance sector has thrived given that the handover. The benefit of Hong Kong’s inventory market has surged to HK$27.65 trillion ($3.52 trillion) as of close-June, up from HK$3.2 trillion in 1997 and world-wide traders have become increasingly reliant on Hong Kong to trade mainland stocks.

Turnover on the Hong Kong-Shanghai inventory connect pipeline – which gives accessibility to closely managed mainland money – jumped to 46.5 billion yuan on June 22, up from 12.8 billion yuan when it released in 2014, according to data from HKEX.

On the Hong Kong-Shenzhen inventory connect channel, turnover stands at about 58 billion yuan, up from 2.7 billion yuan at its start in 2016.


Though uncertainty clouds the outlook for political and civil liberties less than electoral changes and the sweeping national security legislation, other organization executives say Hong Kong’s standing as a economic hub will stay intact.

Some enterprise lobby groups and diplomats have expressed concern over the outlook for Hong Kong, supplied an exodus of talent and worries more than the rule of law and judicial independence.

“Hong Kong will continue to be indispensable, (and) also the most aggressive gateway among China and the rest of the environment,” Fred Hu, founder and chairman of private equity team Primavera, explained to Reuters. “I you should not consider any mainland city, which include some metropolitan areas I adore, will bypass Hong Kong.”

The city has contended for some of the world’s best original public choices in recent yrs, including Alibaba, the New York-detailed e-commerce titan, which journeyed to Hong Kong to elevate $13 billion in a secondary listing in November 2019.

Hong Kong has been the world’s prime stock trade by IPO worth 7 occasions considering that the handover, most a short while ago in 2019, when 146 firms elevated a complete of $40 billion on the most important board, according to Dealogic info.

In a move that authorities say underscores the value China attaches to Hong Kong, President Xi Jinping will attend the swearing in of the city’s new chief, John Lee, on Friday as properly as celebrations to mark the handover.

“I imagine the central government’s intention toward Hong Kong is benign. They do not want to mess up Hong Kong,” Hu claimed.

A former protection main who is sanctioned by the United States, Lee will be closely viewed by a economic market eager to get again on track right after crippling COVID-19 limits that have brought on an exodus of men and women and found the border with mainland China mostly closed for two years.

David Chin, UBS’ UBSG.S head of financial commitment banking for Asia-Pacific, is optimistic on Hong Kong’s outlook, despite the fact that he says China’s purpose on the worldwide stage is important.

“Hong Kong is also the international gateway for China,” he explained. “So the international marriage, how China interacts with the relaxation of the earth, is also incredibly important for Hong Kong.”

($1 = 7.8490 Hong Kong bucks)

(Reporting By Selena Li, Kane Wu and Julie Zhu Creating by Anne Marie Roantree Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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