Following is a summary of major news and comments in the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the parent publication of EJ Insight, on Friday, Nov. 29:
Hong Kong should be ruled by the laws, not men, Li Ka-shing says
Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing said the city should be ruled by the laws, not a person, and that he prefers investing in places having rule of law and a level-playing field. Hong Kong will lose all of its values if it does not uphold its rule of law and principles, Li said. The tycoon, however, reaffirmed that he will not withdraw his capital from the city nor change the domicile of his two flagship companies, Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. (00001.HK) and Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (00013.HK).
Julia Leung says she will embrace a third turning point in life
Julia Leung, who has resigned as Hong Kong’s Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, is looking forward to the third turning point in her life, she said in a speech Thursday, possibly the last one before she steps down from the role in which she has been for five years. Leung did not disclose her next plans but said she expects the upcoming transition to go smoothly. She said she does not have any plan at the moment to return to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, where she had worked for 14 years before joining the former administration led by Donald Tsang.
ECONOMY AND BUSINESS
Li undecided about retirement amid volatile political environment
Li Ka-shing, chairman of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. (00001.HK) and Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (00013.HK), said he has not decided on the exact time as to when he will step down from the group helm, as the current political and economic situation in the world is quite unstable. Hong Kong’s richest man, however, said he is ready for his retirement and that he has prepared well the succession plan. The 85-year-old businessman revealed for the first time that he might have chosen to be a politician, rather than an entrepreneur, if he could start over again.
Tsui Wah net profit jumps 32% on growth in mainland
Tsui Wah Holdings Ltd. (01314.HK) has seen its net profit for the six months through September surge 32 percent from a year ago to HK$85.5 million (US$11.03 million) on robust growth in its business in the mainland. The performance is in big contrast to a mild 4.9 percent profit gain for its rival Fairwood Holdings Ltd. (00052.HK), which mainly serves the mass fast-food market. The high-end caterer Tsui Wah has almost doubled its revenue in the mainland, sending the total revenue for the whole group up 42.7 percent to HK$6.29 billion.
Hong Kong financial market seen at stake amid China growth
The financial market in Hong Kong may be hit by the vast opening of the capital market in the mainland, a potential plan that is seeded in the concluding document of the top leaders’ meeting in Beijing earlier this month, said political commentator Johnny Lau. The central government now intends to let the market “decide”, instead of embracing a planned economy. Meanwhile, Shanghai government has changed its tone to dub itself as the international financial city of China, rather than simply the financial city of China, signalling its aim to directly compete with Hong Kong, Lau added.
Democratic Party mulls three-track nomination for chief executive polls
The Democratic Party of Hong Kong will propose a three-track chief executive nomination method that will enable candidates with different political backgrounds to contest for the top post in the 2017 universal suffrage election, said vice-chairman Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong. The three channels are nomination by political parties that received at least 5 percent of total votes in geographical elections; civil nomination and nomination committee. Tsoi said chief executive without support from political parties would find it difficult to govern.
Hong Kong plans to seek approval for landfills, incinerator plans
The Hong Kong government plans to re-submit expansion plans for three waste landfills to the legislature for approval early next year after the original plan was withdrawn due to strong opposition from local residents in July. Unlike the original plan, a plan to build an incinerator will be put forward in a total package to help convince lawmakers that the government is committed to taking a comprehensive approach that includes both dumping and incinerating in handling waste. Officials said they are confident of a passage at the legislature.
Depreciation of yen likely to continue in short term
Japan’s Nikkei Index closed at 15,727 points yesterday, a six-year high, spurred by the depreciation of the yen. In view of the government’s plan to raise consumption tax in April next year, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stepped up preparation for economic stimulus including further quantitative easing to ease the downward pressure on the economy. The trend of yen depreciation is unlikely to reverse in the short term.
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