Date
18 November 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 Monday, Dec. 2:

TOP STORIES

PwC sees more revenues from consulting in Greater China

Interview: PricewaterhouseCoopers expects half of its total revenues in the Greater China region to come from providing taxation and consulting services in five years, with the rest from auditing services, said Asia-Pacific chairman Silas Yang. The firm will add resources to its consulting division in the region, eyeing opportunities in industries related to renewable energy, food safety and internet security. The PwC group posted overall revenue of more than US$32 billion in the year ended June, with about 27.6 percent of the amount contributed by auditing services in Greater China.

Nordea Asset Management taps into Asian businesses

Interview: Nordea Asset Management, a unit of Nordea Bank S.A., is tapping into the Asia market with its newly established sales team in Singapore as a starting point, said Philippe Graffart, the firm’s executive director and head of fund distribution for Asia-Pacific region. Nordea sees increasing demand from Asian clients and expects investment opportunities in renminbi to gain popularity among Europeans in the coming decade. The firm is planning to set up divisions in Hong Kong and Taiwan in the long term, Graffart added.

ECONOMY AND BUSINESS

Sun Life seeks to expand its presence in Hong Kong

Interview: Wim Hekstra, the new chief executive of Sun Life Hong Kong Ltd., a unit of Sun Life Financial Inc., told HKEJ that the insurer is planning to expand its business in the city by doubling the headcount of its agents in three years to 2,500 from less than 1,300 currently. The firm has seen 50 percent growth in new premiums from sales in the city so far this year. Hekstra said he does not expect other players to cut direct sales teams like what Zurich Insurance Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. did earlier.

Dynam in talks with Macau gaming operators to tap Japan market

Interview: Pachinko operator Dynam Japan Holdings Co. Ltd. (06889.HK) is currently in talks with six gaming companies in Macau, seeking potential cooperation in bidding for a casino license once the Japanese government rolls out detailed plan for development of the industry, said chairman Yoji Sato. The Japanese government is said to be planning to allow a total of 10 counties and cities in the country to open casinos. Dynam, which holds a stake in gaming firm Macau Legend Development Ltd. (01680.HK), is considering putting in another US$50 million investment in Macau gaming stocks.

Runway eyes online sales, in-house labels for growth

Interview: Hong Kong apparel producer Runway Global Holdings Co. Ltd. (08309.HK) is in discussion with two online store operators, aiming to expand its sales channel onto the internet, said managing director Hubert Tien. The company, which will make its debut on Hong Kong’s GEM board on Tuesday, is using 15 percent of funds raised from the share sale to develop its own labels with higher margins, eyeing a contribution of 20-30 percent to the company’s total revenue in two years.

POLITICS

Justice chief says rule of law, independent judiciary still intact in Hong Kong

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen has declined to comment on concerns expressed by tycoon Li Ka-shing about “rule by men” in Hong Kong, but stressed that rule of law and judicial independence remain intact in the city. On the Occupy Central movement, Yuen urged young people to give thought to the city’s long-term development and whether they want a peaceful environment or activities that might jeopardize economic development.

NPC’s Li Fei said to prefer minor change of nomination committee for CE election 

A senior National People’s Congress official has ruled out drastic changes of the composition of the nomination committee for the 2017 chief executive election in Hong Kong. Civic Party legislator Ronny Tong revealed that Li Fei, NPC Standing Committee’s deputy secretary general, said at a lunch during his visit last month that the nomination committee, which is expected to be modeled on the existing 1,200 CE election committee, needs to see change. But when asked by Tong whether the size could be increased by one-fifth, Li reportedly said it was not possible. Pan-democrats said Li’s remarks were worrying as the room for change was limited.

EDITORIAL

China IPO reform in right direction

More than 50 mainland companies are expected to complete the procedure for initial public offerings by the end of January following the announcement of major reform of the IPO arrangement by the China Securities Regulatory Commission on Saturday. Regulators will only assess the relevant regulations. Investors will have to evaluate the investment value and profitability of companies. The reform marks a major step from an inspection system to a registration system, proceeding in the right direction. The success of it depends on whether the authorities are committed to self-transformation.

COMMENTS

Party plenum maps out unprecedented reforms for independent judiciary

China will roll out a series of major reforms in its judicial system following the Communist Party’s third central committee plenum, marking a major step towards modernization of the judiciary. The scope and depth of reforms contained in the plenum document are the biggest since 1949, exceeding academics’ expectations, Beijing-based China commentator Ren Huiwen wrote. Mainland judicial experts said China’s judicial system would see major change in three to five years if the reforms are implemented. Two major tasks for securing judicial independence are anti-corruption and independence of courts from local governments’ intervention.

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