Comprehensively promoting the upgrading and transformation of industries to foster the diversification of financial and economic development
CHAN CHUN YING:
President, thanks to the strong support of our country since Hong Kong’s return, the city has been making remarkable achievements in the areas of international finance, shipping and trade. The financial services industry is always one of the key pillars of our economy, accounting for over 20% of our GDP. As early as in my campaign for the Legislative Council at the end of 2021, I already used the slogan of “diversification of financial services for development” to advocate innovation and application of Fintech and the transformation of service mode, so as to expand the service radius of Hong Kong as an international financial centre.
This is because in recent years, we can clearly see an intensifying geopolitical conflict and indicators of globalization reversal, coupled with fierce competition from neighbouring countries and regions. For instance, tax concessions and facilitation measures offered by Singapore to attract family offices, as well as the rapid popularization of virtual assets and disintermediation, have all posed challenges to the continued development of Hong Kong’s financial industry.
If we do not move forward, we risk falling behind. In order to maintain the long-term stability of Hong Kong’s financial development, we must not only consolidate our traditional advantages but also seize the opportunities presented by our country’s development, take advantage of the global trend of de-dollarization, and make use of Hong Kong’s mature financial infrastructure, including payment and clearing systems, which is closely connected to the world, to vigorously promote the diversification of our financial and economic development. I am very grateful to Mr Robert LEE for proposing the original motion and Dr Johnny NG for the amendment, and I will support them.
Hong Kong has been actively promoting the application of innovative technologies in the financial sector. In recent years, applications such as fast payment systems, Commercial Data Interchange and e-HKD have changed the ecology of financial development. The Policy Statement on Development of Virtual Assets in Hong Kong, which was released last year, has demonstrated to global innovators in virtual asset business that Hong Kong is supportive of Web3-related financial innovation and provides a good foothold for quality virtual asset enterprises. Hong Kong should continue to explore more innovative areas of financial services and enhance the competitiveness of our financial services with new concepts and technologies.
Meanwhile, the global green finance market has been developing rapidly over the past few years, and the scale of green finance in Hong Kong has continued to grow, especially green bonds, which have been issued at nearly US$10 billion. The Government has also launched retail green bonds to allow direct public participation and enhance the public’s understanding of green investment. The SAR Government has also issued the world’s first batch of HK$800 million tokenized green bonds, fully demonstrating the diversity and innovation of Hong Kong’s financial market. In 2021, the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government became the first Mainland local government to issue $3.9 billion of offshore Renminbi green bonds in Hong Kong, setting a good precedent for other local governments and enterprises to issue green bonds in Hong Kong. However, I hope the Government will continue to follow up on the matter because, as of today, this is the only batch issued.
Accelerating the development of green finance will not only bring environmental benefits, but will also promote technological innovation and the development of green industries, and create new potential business opportunities for the financial sector. The 14th Five-Year Plan emphasizes the promotion of comprehensive transformation towards green economic and social development of the Mainland, and supports the development of Hong Kong into a green financial centre in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, indicating that Hong Kong plays a vital role in attracting international capital to help the green transformation of the Mainland.
At present, apart from a sound regulatory framework, Hong Kong also has advantages in green certification and the promotion of green information technology, which I believe will help Hong Kong consolidate its position as a leading green financial centre in Asia and the world. However, we still need to make great efforts in green information disclosure to catch up with the current advanced international standards.
President, the report to the 20th National Congress clearly points out that the next five years will be crucial for getting our efforts to build a modern socialist country in all respects off to a good start. Since Hong Kong possesses unique financial advantages, it should actively dovetail with the country’s financial development strategy and continue to build and integrate Hong Kong’s functions as an all-round, open and integrated financial services hub. We should actively transform into a digital economy and steadily develop the virtual asset market. We should also accelerate the promotion of green and sustainable finance to open up new horizons and inject new impetus into Hong Kong, so as to facilitate the faster and better realization of China’s modernization in the financial sector.
I so submit. Thank you, President.