Date
20 October 2017

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, Nov. 20:

TOP STORIES

HK Airport Authority split on expansion plan, Vincent Lo suggests

Vincent Lo Hong-sui has resigned as chairman of the infrastructural planning committee at Airport Authority Hong Kong. He cited disagreement on the airport’s expansion plan between the board of directors and the management as the reason. Lo, who is also the chairman of Shui On Land Ltd. (00272.HK) and SOCAM Development Ltd. (00983.HK), admitted that he had differences of opinion with the authority’s chairman Marvin Cheung Kin-tung regarding the airport expansion plan. He will stay on the board as member. Lo has proposed to build a commercial and shopping center at the northern part of the airport to boost domestic tourism. There were concerns that his proposal will cause delay to the construction of a third runway and lead to increased costs. Lo had complained that the management was unhelpful with regard to providing supportive documents at a project meeting earlier.

Nan Fung may consider listing following appointment of Antony Leung as CEO

Hong Kong-based property developer Nan Fung Group is said to be planning to go public as it appointed former financial secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung as its chief executive officer, starting February next year. Leung has been selected to take the newly formed position because of his extensive experience, managing director Donald Choi told the Hong Kong Economic Journal. Observers said the move may also be seen as a breakthrough for the family-owned business to lure advice from outsiders. Leung is currently Blackstone Group’s Greater China chairman and will become a senior adviser at the private-equity firm.

ECONOMY AND BUSINESS

GOME mulls launch of online fund sales, top executive says

Home appliance maker GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd. (00493.HK) is planning to partner with financial institutions to provide online mutual fund sales next year, chief executive Wang Junzhou {王俊洲} said in Beijing yesterday. The proposed distribution platform will facilitate the firm’s online retailing business amid fierce competition in the industry, Wang said, adding that the detailed plan of operation is yet to be decided. The move came after the retailer launched its small-size loan products this year. It is planning to seek a third-party payment license, he said. The launch of the payment system will help promote the gathering of market and customer information.

China selective in rolling out reforms in developing free-trade zones, Deloitte says

The Chinese government will adopt a selective approach in rolling out reforms that fit different cities in their venture into free-trade zones, said Vivian Jiang, managing partner of China Eastern Region tax practice at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. She believes the country’s first free-trade zone in Shanghai, the country’s economic hub, would be in no conflict to similar plans mulled by other cities. Different policies will be adopted in different zones based on their practical situation and to avoid chaos and conflict, she said.

POLITICS

Philippines envoy says compensation deal for Manila bus hostage killings close

Visiting Philippines Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras revealed in Hong Kong yesterday that details of Manila’s proposals to resolve the dispute over the 2010 Manila bus hostage tragedy will be unveiled in a few days. He did not rule out President Benigno Aquino making an apology over the incident. Almendras was also quoted as saying at a function at the Philippines Consulate-General in the city that the proposals would address the demands of the victims of the tragedy. As instructed by President Aquino, Almendras also delivered a token of solidarity to cover the cost of a victim, Yik Siu-ling, who urgently needed money for a surgery.

Senior NPC official Li Fei to visit Hong Kong amid reform row

A senior Chinese National People’s Congress official, Li Fei, will visit Hong Kong for three days beginning Thursday at the invitation of the Chief Secretary Carrie Lam. The surprise announcement last night comes on the eve of the government announcement of public consultation on political reform. Lam is head of a top-level task force on political reform. Li, who is chairman of the Basic Law Committee under the NPC Standing Committee, will meet with the two major legal bodies, Bar Association and Law Society, and senior officials. Pan-democrats said they have not yet been invited for a meeting with Li.

EDITORIAL

New row over Harbin monument shows complex ties in northeast Asia

A fresh row involving China, Japan and South Korea has erupted over the building of a monument in Harbin commemorating Ahn Jung Geun, who killed Hirobumi Ito, a governor, when the Korean Peninsula was a colonial protectorate of Japan. Japan protested over the China-Korea plan to build the monument. China hailed Ahn as an anti-Japanese hero. The row reflects the complexities of ties among the three countries and United States. One new major issue for the newly-established National Security Committee is how to find the most appropriate balance for China’s greatest benefit in managing the complex relations.

COMMENTS

Beijing urged to ask Hong Kong government to review TV license row

Beijing should urge the Hong Kong government to look into the row over the decision to not issue a third free-to-air television license following the government’s refusal to reconsider its move, former civil service minister Joseph Wong wrote. Wong said the central government is obliged to do so as the row has caused strong public discontent and suspicion among some Hong Kong people towards Beijing. Given the concern that the row has dealt a blow to the authority of the government, Beijing also has the duty to find out whether legislators were the culprit as claimed.

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