Date
11 December 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, March 12:

TOP STORIES

Wong blasts govt for double standard in license requirement

Hong Kong Television Network Ltd. (01137.HK) has been requested by the Office of Communications Authority to obtain a free television license before it launches its mobile television channels as the planned coverage would include more than 5,000 households and specified spots. The company had earlier gained mobile television license by acquiring China Mobile Hong Kong Co. Ltd. Chairman Ricky Wong blasted the government for adopting a double standard against Hong Kong Television, which is planning to launch mobile television channels in July. China Mobile Hong Kong was not required to have a free television license despite a 90-percent coverage over households in the city, Wong noted.

GOME former chairman, wife agree to pay HK$420 million compensation

GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd. (00493.HK) founder and former chairman Huang Guangyu {黃光裕}, also known as Wong Kwong-yu, and his wife Du Juan {杜鵑} have entered into agreement with the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong to pay the listed company HK$420 million (US$54.12 million) compensation for breach of duties as directors and to resolve proceedings initiated by the watchdog in relation to certain share repurchases by the company, which were allegedly done to help the couple repay their debts. The compensation amount marked a record for settlement by individuals under section 213 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance, which stipulates provisions regarding insider dealing and market manipulation.

Zhou sees deposit interest rates liberalized in two years

Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan {周小川} said he expects deposit interest rates to be liberalized in two years, completing the process of liberalization of the saving and lending interest rates that was started in June 2012. Any new forms of businesses and models can produce market forces to push the process, the head of the People’s Bank of China added. Lenders are not allowed to set deposit rates exceeding the benchmark levels by more than 10 percent. Meanwhile, Zhou said Hong Kong has its advantage in developing renminbi businesses, and that authorities will study a proposal to remove the 20,000 yuan (US$3,256) daily exchange limits on Hong Kong individuals.

POLITICS

Arthur Li warns of chaos if Occupy Central goes ahead

Interview: Executive Council member Arthur Li Kwok-cheung has warned Hong Kong could become another Tiananmen of June 1989, where a students-led protest ended in bloodshed, if the Occupy Central movement goes ahead with its blockade plan. Li, who is also a deputy to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said Beijing would not budge to the demand of the pro-democracy activists because of the civil disobedience plan. He said voters could cast a blank vote of protest if no pan-democratic candidates are able to contest the 2017 chief executive election.

Bank of China (HK) staff asked to endorse conservative reform proposal

Bank of China (Hong Kong) staff have been asked to endorse one of the three conservative proposals for the 2017 chief executive election in a standard letter for them to submit to the government. The copy of the letter obtained by the HKEJ is similar to another letter sent to staff by the Everbright Group and a senior executive of the Manulife Insurance. Ng Leung-sing, director of the Bank of China (Hong Kong) said bank staff would not be forced to sign the letter. Chinese University political scientist Ivan Choy said any attempt to manipulate the consultation would undermine its credibility.

EDITORIAL

Government urged to clarify telecom law amid fresh row over mobile TV license

The Hong Kong government should learn a lesson and give a full account of its policy over the license requirements for mobile television in the wake of the fresh row with Hong Kong Television Network. The company said yesterday it has no choice but to delay its service plan after the government warned the firm’s original transmission plan might violate the telecommunication law. The government should enhance transparency to allay public concern. It should also regularly review the telecommunication ordinance to cope with the advance in technology.

COMMENTS

Row between Leung, Tsang over fiscal policy unprecedented, economist says

The row between Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Financial Secretary John Tsang over fiscal management policy is unprecedented, former economics department head of the Hong Kong Baptist University Tang Shu-hung wrote. The row should provide a golden opportunity for a thorough scrutiny of the city’s public finance management. The Leung camp and the government’s Central Policy Unit should conduct detailed study and give a full response to the long-term fiscal planning report compiled by the task group formed by Tsang. This would facilitate rational and full public debate and prevent superficial dispute.

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