Central authorities could step up efforts to promote Shanghai and other places on the mainland as alternative financial hubs if the Occupy Central protests dent Beijing’s confidence in Hong Kong as a prime economic gateway, said Joseph Yam, former head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
The planned blockade by the Occupy Central group could bring unexpected consequences if it leads to doubts about the efficiency and sustainability of the city’s position as a major financial center, Yam said, according to the Hong Kong Economic Journal.
Hong Kong is already facing more competition in the offshore renminbi business, he noted.
Taiwan and Singapore have established renminbi clearing banks after gaining approval from the Chinese government, while London, Frankfurt, Paris, Luxembourg and Seoul have signed agreements on clearing arrangement with the People’s Bank of China earlier this year.
Although such quick development of offshore clearing hubs may not necessarily be related to the Occupy Central movement, Hong Kong should strive all out to enhance its appeal in the competitive environment, Yam said.
The upcoming launch of the cross-border stock investment scheme for individuals in Shanghai and Hong Kong reflects the unique position of Hong Kong. However, it is up to the city to show its strengths to the central government, Yam added.
Yam, meanwhile, said he hasn’t noticed any divestment moves yet from the business sector due to the Occupy Central movement, Ming Pao Daily reported.
Yam has been praised by former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen as being a person who is qualified to become the city’s next chief executive. Political veterans and observers, however, believe that Yam is unlikely to contest the elections in 2017.
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