Following is a summary of major news and comments in the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the parent publication of EJ Insight, on Wednesday, Jan. 1:
Analysts upbeat about mainland stock markets in 2014
Deepening reforms in various sectors in the mainland are expected to drive related stocks higher in 2014, analysts said. Counters in the healthcare, environmental protection and alternative energy sectors are among top picks, given potential benefits from reform in the financial markets, social security system and household registration regime. The outlook is upbeat although the mainland stock markets have posted the worst performance four years in a row as compared with major markets in Asia, Europe and the United States. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 6.8 percent in 2013 and the Shenzhen Component Index was down 10.9 percent.
Economists urge Hong Kong to widen renminbi investment product range
Hong Kong needs to diversify the range of renminbi-denominated investment products to secure its status as an offshore center for the Chinese currency, economists said. The remarks came even as official data showed total renminbi deposits in the city topped 1 trillion yuan (US$165.13 billion) as of the end of November. The deposit figures were in line with expectations, economists said, adding that they believe the amount will continue to grow steadily in 2014.
ECONOMY and BUSINESS
Macau Legend seeks to run gaming referral business
Macau Legend Development Ltd. (01680.HK) is studying the feasibility of running gaming intermediary business in Hong Kong and Macau for referring clients to its casino subsidiaries. The company is currently in talks with authorities on both sides as it does not have a license to operate such businesses. One of the options may be for the company to engage with New Legend VIP Club Ltd., a company with a gaming referral license that is controlled by a senior executive of Macau Legend, in conducting the concerned businesses.
Vanke denies tax evasion accusation by CCTV
China Vanke Co. Ltd. (000002.CN) has refuted an allegation that the company has evaded taxes on four of its property development projects last year. The four projects are either projected to have a profit margin below the threshold for paying a land value-added tax or are still in the construction phase and yet to be put for sale, the developer said in a statement in response to a report by China Central Television. The state-backed TV station had also reported in November that certain developers have avoided more than 3.8 trillion yuan of tax in total from 2005 through 2012.
Room for moderate politics narrower in Hong Kong, academic says
Interview: The room for moderate politics in Hong Kong has become increasingly narrow as Beijing tightened its control over the city in view of the governance difficulty faced by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, said Brian Fong, a vice-chairman of think-tank SynergyNet and a political scientist at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Fong warned the city would be pushed to the brink of turmoil unless Beijing changes its hardened policy and adopts a more liberal universal suffrage model for the city.
Clashes feared between pro-Beijing group and participants at Jan 1 rally
Fears of clashes between a Beijing-loyalist group and activists championing Hong Kong identity at today’s New Year’s Day march have emerged. The Defend Hong Kong Campaign said its members would wave the national flag and sing the national anthem to “promote the importance of the Basic Law” at stalls along the route of the march. Meanwhile, a group calling themselves “Hong Kong self-determination” said it would urge supporters to adopt peaceful means to separate the pro-Beijing group from the marchers.
2014 a testing time for Hong Kong
Hong Kong bade farewell to 2013, which was marked with escalation of conflicts and deepening of social and political rifts and worries about the future. Whether the social divide will grow wider or become narrower will be the key to development of the city in 2014. It hinges on whether different parties in the society are able to accommodate differences, seek common ground and make wise decisions in the long-term interest of the city.
Economic requirements on mainland migrants reasonable, Wong says
It is reasonable and legitimate for Hong Kong to impose requirements on the economic situation of legal migrants from the mainland before they are allowed to settle in the city, former civil service minister Joseph Wong said. He said countries such as Canada have similar requirement for Hong Kong migrants. Wong said the Basic Law also did not specifically say Hong Kong has no role to play in the approval of migrants from mainland under the single-entry permit system. The Basic Law does not say whether part of the whole process of permit issuance can be done in Hong Kong.
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