15 February 2019

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 Wednesday, Oct. 9:


Watchdogs urged to probe sensitive information leak at Country Garden

Market observers have urged the Securities and Futures Commission and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. (00388.HK) to investigate an alleged leak of price-sensitive information and purported insider dealing related to mainland developer Country Garden Holdings Co. Ltd. (02007.HK) that HKEJ revealed on Tuesday. The company said in an exchange filing that its president Mo Bin {莫斌} did mention certain “unverified figures” within “a limited circle” of senior management and it will review internal communication procedures to ensure that all employees maintain confidentiality of any sensitive and confidential information. The developer said it generated 64.7 billion yuan (US$10.57 billion) in contracted sales from the beginning of this year through the end of September.

HKICPA unveils proposed reform on regulation of listed company auditors

The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants has launched a three-month consultation with its 36,000 members regarding a draft framework for independent regulation of listed company auditors. The draft seeks to keep the authority of registration, inspection, continuing professional development and standards setting with the institute, while shifting that of investigation and discipline to the council, which will also oversee the institute. The government hopes the proposed reform will make the city qualified to join the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators and that it will be in line with relevant rules set by the European Union. The draft was finalized after years of discussion and collaboration between the institute, the government’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau, and the Financial Reporting Council.


Shanghai FTZ tries online platform for selling imported goods

The newly established Shanghai pilot free trade zone has launched a cross-border online platform on a trial basis to facilitate the trading of imported goods. Analysts said the platform, which sells products with international labels such as Fendi, Cartier, Ferragamo and Dunhill, is expected to hit parallel imports, helping the country to regulate transactions of imported goods. The online platform will sell apparel, accessories, baby products, electronic goods, cosmetics and bags in the first phase.

Hong Kong Disneyland not affected by China’s new tourism law

China’s new tourism law has not had much impact on the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong Disneyland, said managing director Andrew Kam. During the National Day holiday, visitors were still dominated by individual mainland travelers, Kam added. The theme park announced on Tuesday that it will build a new area featuring box-office sensation Iron Man to attract more visitors. It will seek approval from the government to further expand the site of the whole theme park and construct its third resort in the city.


Aquino says no to Leung’s demand for apology over Manila bus hostage tragedy

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has rejected a demand for an apology to families of the victims in a Hong Kong tour group who were killed in Manila three years ago. He told the city’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying at a meeting on the sidelines of the APEC forum in Bali it was not the culture of the Philippines to apologize for acts of other people. He claimed Leung had said at the meeting he understood the cultural differences between Chinese and the Philippines. Families of the victims accused Aquino of shirking responsibility.

New hospital chief vows to provide world-class medical services in Hong Kong

Professor John Leong Chi-yan, President of the Open University of Hong Kong, was named chairman of the city’s Hospital Authority. Leong outlined three major tasks of the statutory body, which include providing world-class medical and healthcare services, training world-class young doctors and providing research and innovation for doctors. Patients and doctors’ groups welcome the appointment of Leong, who is 71.


Hong Kong lacks bargaining power in bus hostage talks with Manila

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has held a meeting with Philippine President Benigno Aquino in Bali over the Manila bus hostage tragedy on Monday. Although both sides agreed to hold formal talks on the demands of the families of Hong Kong victims who were killed by a Philippine gunman, Aquino has rejected their demand for an apology. It has reflected the lack of political bargaining power of the Hong Kong government in forcing its Philippine counterpart to abandon their arrogant and irresponsible attitude. Leung has played down expectations for the talks for fear of a backlash if the talks end in vain. He can only expect a change of circumstances and stronger support from the central government for Manila to change its stance.


Let’s turn ‘scandal’ of HKU head appointment into a good thing, Wong says

Newly-appointed Vice Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, Peter Mathieson, should be given the benefit of doubt for him to lead the university, former civil service minister Joseph Wong wrote. He said the debate should not be focused on whether the Vice Chancellor was Chinese or non-Chinese, knew or did not know Chinese language. Those Chinese professors who criticized Mathieson’s appointment should play the role of a good intellectual and turn the “scandal” into a good thing.

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