Hong Kong’s bridging role to channel investment from Gulf countries seeking opportunities in the Chinese mainland is valued by officials and business leaders in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)’s financial chief Paul Chan Mo-po wrote in his blog on Sunday.
Great interest has been expressed as many countries in the Middle East look to diversify their investment portfolios amid a rapidly changing international landscape, the HKSAR financial chief noted, as he recounted his first overseas trip to the Gulf region and also the first in three years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A number of Gulf countries are beginning to realize the need to diversify their investments, and Asia – including the Chinese mainland – offers ideal destinations for such efforts, noted Chan, who attended the Future Investment Initiative investor summit in Riyadh. Countries have set concrete goals to track their progress in their respective diversification efforts, Chan noted.
Chan said that Gulf country inventors are hoping to join hands with reliable partners as the most effective way to explore the Chinese mainland, the HKSAR and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), which they are not so well acquainted with. Reducing the risks of investment was also a reason.
Investors are keen on how to invest with yuan that they received from their trade in Hong Kong, banking on the city’s role as the world’s largest offshore trading center of the currency, noted Chan. They are also interested in the connect programs between the Hong Kong bourse and the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets.
HKSAR is continuously reinforcing its connectivity with the Chinese mainland through capital market links, and assets under management in Hong Kong reached HK$35.5 trillion ($4.52 trillion) last year, of which 65 percent came from foreign countries and regions, HKSAR Chief Executive John Lee said in September, indicating that Hong Kong has the resilience to become the preferred asset and wealth management hub in the GBA and in Asia.
In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia was considering accepting yuan instead of US dollars for oil sales. Globally, more countries are diversifying away from dollar assets amid a changing global landscape.
The HKSAR has the world’s largest offshore yuan capital pool, processing about 75 percent of the world’s offshore yuan settlements.
In Chan’s latest blog post over the weekend, he also criticized some foreign politicians who attempted to politicize trade matters and normal exchanges in the financial industry and stir up ideological confrontation, noting that such efforts will only result in an all-lose situation and drag down the development of the global financial industry.
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