Hong Kong Must Fight to Stay Relevant — Or Become “Just Another Chinese City”

Peace and Freedom

Mainland Chinese markets loom large over Hong Kong these days. The city should try harder to stand out as a market of integrity.

Flags of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, top center, mainland China, bottom center, and the Hong Kong, bottom right, in Hong Kong’s Central business district.

Flags of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, top center, mainland China, bottom center, and the Hong Kong, bottom right, in Hong Kong’s Central business district. PHOTO: JUSTIN CHIN/BLOOMBERG NEWS

When China regained sovereignty of Hong Kong from Britain in 1997, the mainland’s two stock markets—in Shanghai and Shenzhen—had a total market capitalization of $196 billion, equivalent to the combined size of just six of Hong Kong’s biggest listed companies then.

How times have changed. Twenty years after the handover, the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets together are valued at $7.5 trillion—the second largest in the world and more than twice the size of Hong Kong’s market.

China’s ascendancy hasn’t been all bad for…

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