Martin Roll was featured in the July 2 2017 edition of China Daily Asia Weekly. China Daily Asia is a weekly publication that features news, opinions and analysis of China and the region, with a distribution across Asia including Australia, India, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia.
In the article, Hong Kong’s importance as a financial center in the global financial industry and its potential to unlock economic and business opportunities was discussed and reinforced. Martin Roll provided his global perspectives by pointing out Hong Kong’s excellent infrastructure, transport and urban mobility.
In July 2017, Hong Kong celebrated 20 years of its handover from Britain back to China. Looking back at the last 20 years, its economic landscape has undeniably evolved and is still evolving. Hong Kong used to be the middleman between China and the world, but it currently has world-class legal and financial systems that other Asian countries can leverage on to grow.
According to HSBC, Asia Pacific’s share of global exports is forecasted to rise to 46% by 2050, against Western Europe’s forecasted decline to 22% and North America’s forecasted declined to 10%. Martin Roll argued that Hong Kong has carved itself a niche with top-tier businesses, human capital, information exchanges and cultural experiences. In the past 40 years, Hong Kong has developed as the entrepreneurial star of Asia and it now holds an unmatched advantage as the gateway to a rising China.
Indeed, coming in the 5th city in the Global City Index 2016 just after London, New York, Paris and Tokyo, and topping the Euromonitor’s International Top City Destinations Ranking 2016, it is not difficult to see that Hong Kong has come a long way and has much more to offer now.
Today, Hong Kong plays a pivotal role in Asia’s development, especially for Southeast Asian countries. It is negotiating free trade agreements with various countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), while remaining a major source of investment for several emerging markets, including India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Nonetheless, it faces intense competition from other Asian countries like Singapore. Hong Kong’s trade has declined to some extent – it has fallen to 5th place on the world’s busiest container ports according to the World Shipping Council.
Despite these challenges, Martin Roll stated that the city still remains a key investment hub with its free trade laws, and it is favored for its rich history of collaboration with China. With zero tariffs, strong property rights and a low overall tax burden at just 15.7% of its GDP, Hong Kong’s business environment is one of the most transparent and efficient in the world. There is a huge potential for Hong Kong to rise up again in global visibility as one of the leading Asian cities.
To unlock this untapped potential for the future, Martin Roll advised that Hong Kong needs to consider how it can play a stronger role in partnering with developing Asian cities to unlock economic and business opportunities.
Read the full column here: China Daily Asia Weekly – Playing to unique strengths