Date
22 October 2017
Christopher Cheung has attributed the delay in the launch of a cross-border stock trading program to the ongoing Occupy protests in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ
Christopher Cheung has attributed the delay in the launch of a cross-border stock trading program to the ongoing Occupy protests in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ

Occupy protests blamed for Stock Connect launch delay

The civil disturbance in Hong Kong has led to the postponement of the launch of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program, according to a local lawmaker.

Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, who represents the financial services sector in the Legislative Council, told the Hong Kong Economic Journal that the Occupy movement has impacted the stock through-train program.

“Mainland officials have had diverse opinions over the launch of the stock connect program during some of our recent informal conversations,” Cheung was quoted as saying in an exclusive interview.

“They doubt whether Hong Kong can supplement economic activities of the mainland and if foreign investors would be sufficiently interested in the program at the moment,” he added.

The central government has indicated some worries about the situation in Hong Kong recently.

“Beijing regards the financial sector as a highly sensitive industry, on which the Occupy movement has had the most impact” Cheung said.

The Occupy pro-democracy protests, which are now into their fifth week, have led to the delay in the launch of the Stock Connect, even as all technical issues related to the program are reported to have been resolved, according to the lawmaker.

Cheung warned that if the Occupy movement drags on for a prolonged period, it could end up marginalizing Hong Kong and drive away foreign capital. Meanwhile, mainland authorities could pursue alternative plans, stepping up focus on domestic financial centers such as Shanghai.

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VW/JP/RC

Freelance journalist

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