March 4, 2022
HONG KONG – Hong Kong needs to strengthen its financial connectivity with the Chinese mainland to alleviate the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and retain the city’s status as an international financial hub, a Legislative Council member said Thursday.
Lawmaker Tan Yueheng, who is also the chairman and executive director of BOCOM International Holdings Co Ltd, said Hong Kong has been a platform for mainland enterprises “to absorb international capital” while mainland resources helped the city “stand up in the world as an international financial center”.
Lawmaker Tan Yueheng, who is also the chairman and executive director of BOCOM International Holdings Co Ltd, said mainland resources helped Hong Kong “stand up in the world as an international financial center”
“We need to reinforce our connections with the mainland to minimize the adverse effects brought by the coronavirus, such as expanding the scale of the Wealth Management Connect scheme and developing cross-border yuan settlement,” Tan told China Daily on Thursday.
Hong Kong is able to strike a balance between maintaining daily operations among financial agencies and fighting the pandemic as the city’s financial system has made a lot of progress in digitalization over the past two years, the lawmaker said.
Hong Kong’s government is currently discussing the details of a compulsory universal testing program, which is expected to be implemented later this month, as the special administrative region reported a record high of 56,827 new cases on Thursday.
While Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor rejected the need for a full lockdown on Wednesday, she said there must be some restrictions in place to prevent residents from moving freely around the city during the mass testing.
Hong Kong’s position as an international financial hub would not be affected much even if the move was taken, Tan said. “Firstly, most business operations in financial institutions can be done online, given the enhancement of digitalization levels in the financial sector. Secondly, Hong Kong has developed a sound business continuity management system under the guidelines of regulators, which prevents it from potential risks.”
Nevertheless, the possibility of a brain drain cannot be ignored, he pointed out. “The pandemic has posed some obstacles to the flow of talent to some extent. Hong Kong needs to absorb more talent from abroad,” Tan said.
He also expressed his confidence in the virus fight with the central government’s ceaseless support, and called on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government to better coordinate mainland resources to battle the pandemic.