Date
26 April 2018

HKEJ Today: Highlights

Following is a summary of major news and comments in the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the parent publication of EJ Insight, on Tuesday, Oct. 1:

TOP STORIES

Tencent only a ‘small shareholder’ in bank venture, Ma says

Tencent Holdings Ltd. (00700.HK) has no plan to compete with mainland banks, chairman Pony Ma said at a media briefing in Shenzhen on Monday. The Hong Kong Economic Journal quoted him as saying that the firm would only cooperate with banks to provide credit information on its clients and offer a sales channel for the products. Mainland media reported that Tencent would form partnership with banks to develop local lenders. Ma said his firm will only be a “small shareholder” in the projects.

ECONOMY AND BUSINESS

Negative list set for foreign firms in Shanghai free-trade zone  

A negative business list and a package of 190 management measures for foreign companies operating in the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone came to light after the zone’s inauguration on Sunday. Analysts said it is understandable that a detailed negative list that specified the businesses that foreign firms cannot engage in was published, as the FTZ idea is new in China. The negative list measure marks a major step for China to abandon its policy-led approach in economic development. Analysts said the list might be revised and shortened after a period of time.

Renminbi deposits in Hong Kong banks hit 709 billion yuan in Aug

Total renminbi deposits in Hong Kong banks have topped the 700 billion yuan mark, as they reached 709.5 billion yuan in August, up 2.1 percent from the previous month, according to Hong Kong Monetary Authority information. Banking analysts said RMB deposits would continue to grow but the pace would be steady.

POLITICS

Labour Party plans to boost second-tier leaders, Lee says

Interview: Hong Kong’s Labour Party plans to speak up louder on labour rights and social justice issues and nurture its second-tier leadership to boost their popularity and succession, chairman Lee Cheuk-yan, also a legislator, said. The party, formed at the end of 2011, will gather for a weekend retreat to reflect on its direction and strategy. Lee admitted that although the party holds four seats in the Legislative Council, they ranked low in popularity in opinion polls.

Bristol university dean set to be named HKU vice chancellor

Professor Peter William Mathieson, currently dean of medicine and dentistry at the University of Bristol, has been named to succeed Professor Tsui Lap-chee as the vice chancellor of the University of Hong Kong. He could become the first expatriate to head the leading university in 41 years. A source said the selection committee has not set a requirement on the nationality of the vice chancellor. The university’s Council will make a final decision after a meeting between Professor Mathieson and staff and students on Friday.

EDITORIAL

US federal govt shutdown will hurt economic recovery

The impasse between Republicans and Democrats over government expenditure and debt limit will certainly have an impact on the US economy. Moody’s rating agency estimated a shut-down of government offices for three to four weeks could cut the gross domestic product growth rate by 1.4 percentage points. Figures showed the growth rate of property prices in July has slowed down. Consumer confidence in September has dropped. There will be marked damaging effects on the pace of economic recovery if the debt and expenditure row drags on, causing more uncertainties to the tapering of quantitative easing.

COMMENTS

Shanghai FTZ to lead China’s second wave of reform

There are two major policy themes of the Xi Jinping-Li Keqiang leadership since its elevation at the Communist Party’s 18th national congress in November. They are the anti-corruption drive led by Xi and economic upgrade drive spearheaded by Li, seasoned commentator Jiang Wu wrote. The recent mini-financial crisis in India and Indonesia has rung an alarm bell for the leadership to speed up financial reform. A source close to the leadership said the Shanghai free-trade zone could lead the second wave of China’s reform policy.

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CH/RC

 

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