A report released by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Monday pointed out that Hong Kong has retained its sound business environment and unique advantages under "one country, two systems," and the financial hub is still attractive to businesses and investors around the world.
The "Report on Hong Kong's Business Environment: A Place with Unique Advantages and Unlimited Opportunities" was released at a press conference by Paul Chan, financial secretary of the HKSAR government.
The report, the first of its kind released by the HKSAR government, comes as the global financial hub has returned to stability from chaos over the past year and is gathering momentum for a more prosperous future.
While the social unrest in 2019 dealt a severe blow to the society and economy of Hong Kong and upset Hong Kong's business environment, peace and stability were restored after the implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong and the improvements to Hong Kong's electoral system, the report said.
Thanks to these measures, Hong Kong's institutional strengths under "one country, two systems" and other inherent strengths remain intact, and the implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong has reinforced the sound and robust rule of law and judicial independence, it said.
The "one country, two systems" principle has been the cornerstone of Hong Kong's economic development since Hong Kong returned to the motherland in 1997, the report noted.
According to the report, the Hong Kong economy has always been positioning itself to leverage the support from the motherland while engaging with the world. In supporting the mainland's reform, opening-up and continued development by providing high value-added services, Hong Kong has gradually developed into an international financial, trade and transportation center.
The report listed a series of indicators highlighting Hong Kong's financial strengths and resilience.
In the 12-month period following the implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong, funds raised through initial public offerings increased by more than 50 percent year-on-year, and the average daily turnover of the Hong Kong stock market was up by nearly 70 percent from the level before the implementation of the law. The assets under management of the asset and wealth management business in Hong Kong grew by 21 percent, and the amount of bond issuance arranged by Hong Kong ranked first in Asia.
Hong Kong's economic freedom and competitiveness continued to be well recognized by international institutions, according to the report.
The International Monetary Fund affirmed Hong Kong's position as a major international financial center.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said that Hong Kong will remain an important financial hub in Asia and a gateway to investment in the Chinese mainland, thanks to a favorable tax regime, simple listing process, absence of capital controls and a good regulatory framework.
Canada's Fraser Institute ranked Hong Kong as the world's freest economy in the Economic Freedom of the World 2021 Annual Report. The Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum in 2019 ranked Hong Kong third globally, while the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2021 published by the International Institute for Management Development ranked Hong Kong seventh globally, the report noted.
The report said that foreign businesses remain generally confident about Hong Kong's business environment as chambers of commerce from the United States, Britain, Australia and Malaysia all agree that Hong Kong remains an ideal place for international business.
Looking ahead, the report believes Hong Kong's financial industry will be able to explore more opportunities amid the development of the whole country.
The report stressed that the 14th Five-Year Plan for national socio-economic development promotes high-quality development and aims to accelerate the establishment of a new development pattern featuring dual circulation, which takes the domestic market as the mainstay while enabling the domestic and international markets to interact positively with each other.
"Now the local epidemic situation has stabilized, and the national 14th Five-Year Plan is bringing countless new opportunities to Hong Kong," Chan said at the press conference.
"We will continue to serve as the gateway connecting our country and the rest of the world and perform the functions of a 'super-connector,' a high value-added services platform, an international talent and capital pool and more, and also be an internationally preferred place of doing business," he said.