Date
18 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 Tuesday, March 18:

TOP STORIES

Lo Ka-shui calls for review of Hong Kong listing rules for tech firms

Interview: Lo Ka-shui, former director at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. (00388.HK), said the city should review its listing rules to attract more technology firms to sell shares in the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM). The remark by Lo, dubbed the Father of the GEM board, came after Hong Kong lost Alibaba Group’s listing to New York. The whole technology segment on the two boards in Hong Kong may disappear if listing rules are too outdated, Lo said, urging reform to revitalize the GEM as Hong Kong’s NASDAQ.

Credit quality in mainland worsening amid slowing growth, Li Renjie says

Interview: A slowing economy is adding pressure on the asset quality of mainland lenders, said Industrial Bank Co. Ltd. (601166.CN) chairman Li Renjie {李仁杰}. The overall non-performing loan ratio in the sector has risen for two quarters in a row to 1 percent as of the end of last year. Li, however, said the risks are still confined and that there is limited chance of a systemic crisis as authorities have stepped in to ring-fence risks in shadow banking activities by overseeing them through different categories.

HKTV’s Ricky Wong urges government to clarify policy risks

Ricky Wong, chairman of Hong Kong Television Network Ltd. (01137.HK), has urged authorities to clarify policy risks if technology of the mobile system his firm is planning to use later develops to a stage that households can also receive the signals. Wong criticized the government for allowing the two free TV stations to transmit signals that allow mobile gadgets to be used as program receivers, while limiting his firm from sending mobile signal that may be caught by households. Government officials, however, refuted Wong’s accusation.

POLITICS

Two senior Beijing officials to meet HK lawmakers during Shanghai trip

China’s key official in charge of Hong Kong Affairs and a senior NPC official will meet with Hong Kong legislators to discuss political reform during their visit to Shanghai next month, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said yesterday. He said Wang Guangying, the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Director and Li Fei, deputy secretary general of the National People’s Congress, will meet the lawmakers. He urged the lawmakers to seize the opportunity to hold talks with the officials. Some pan-democrat lawmakers have said they will not join the trip. Some remain undecided.

Plan to lease land in Nansha, Hengqin for HK projects dropped, govt says

The government has revealed that it has held internal discussion about the setting up a “Hong Kong park” for industries and public housing on leased land in Nansha or Hengqin. But the idea has been dropped after it found it was not feasible. The government has not put forward the idea at a top-level advisory committee on mainland-Hong Kong economic and trade cooperation, a spokesman said. The Chinese-language Apple Daily reported on Monday that the government broached the idea.

EDITORIAL

Effect of economic sanctions against Russia over Crimea crisis unclear

The United States and European countries are expected to impose economic sanctions against Russia in the wake of the declaration of independence in Crimea. But whether the measures would be effective remains to be seen as Russia could leverage its natural gas resources to put pressure on European countries. Japan’s stance is also unclear. The worsening of the geopolitical crisis in the region, however, will certainly create negative impact on world economy and financial markets. The risk of sharp fluctuations in commodities prices is increasing.

COMMENTS

Civil nomination should be adopted in universal suffrage model, Lam says

Political reform in Hong Kong will become meaningless if even the element of civil nomination cannot be incorporated into the nominating committee arrangement for the 2017 chief executive election, HKEJ founder Lam Hang-chi wrote. Hong Kong people cannot expect their opinion to be wholly accepted by the authorities. But it will be very sad and disappointing if the government’s constitutional reform task force fails to move slightly closer public opinion and take into account the true meaning of universal suffrage when formulating the electoral arrangements.

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