HKEX focused on connecting investments between east and west, says CEO

International participation is a critical component for HKEX, and the bourse is confident that ongoing reforms will attract overseas tech firms, said Mr Aguzin.

It is also looking to set up offices in New York and Europe to attract international listings.

CHINA MARKET HUGE GROWTH POTENTIAL

On the intensifying decoupling in recent times between China and the United States, Mr Aguzin said that it is “not in anyone’s interest to have a decoupling between east and west”.

The Chinese market is too big for investors to ignore, he added.

“What we’re trying to do is to make sure that investors understand the merit of investing in this part of the world.

“There’s a significant amount of capital looking for opportunities. There is still a lot of interest in the region because China is such a big market and the capital market has such a growth potential and it’s hard for international players to just ignore that market,” he said.

Mainland China’s capital market is likely to triple in size from its current US$30 trillion to US$100 trillion in the next 10 years, noted Mr Aguzin, adding that this would create a host of opportunities for financial participants.

He said a significant number of financial institutions in the world already have a base or presence in Hong Kong – about 600 hedge funds and more than 200 private equity companies.

Similarly, the bourse wants to encourage investors from Asia, particularly those in China, to seek international opportunities through Hong Kong.

“There are a lot of initiatives whereby we are presenting an ecosystem of products that allow more interactions. The more interactions, the more connectivity that we have, the better for the whole world,” he said.

BIOTECH AND HI-TECH 

A significant industry for Hong Kong is biotech.

Since 2018, following revisions to its listing regime, the bourse has attracted more than 100 healthcare firms to list in the city, becoming the second-largest funding hub in the world for the biotech sector, Mr Aguzin said.

He added that the bourse is setting its sights on attracting high-technology companies next, including pre-revenue firms that have been investing in research and development.

“If we look at the last four years, two thirds of the companies that came to list in our market are new economy companies. So that has been an incredibly successful market and it’s providing a lot of growth for the exchange,” he said.

POSITIVE OUTLOOK

Despite a tough year globally for initial public offerings (IPOs), Mr Aguzin said the China market has done exceptionally well.

Shanghai Stock Exchange raised the highest amount in the first three quarters this year, followed by the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in second place. HKEX ranked fourth.

Mr Aguzin said that the bourse had 66 IPOs this year to date, raising HK$88 billion (US$11 billion), with about 140 companies waiting for conditions to be ripe for launching.

“That’s pretty good for a tough year,” he said. “I recognise that the conditions were difficult. (But) we’ve seen the third quarter improve quite a bit and the outlook is actually quite good.”

Mr Aguzin took an optimistic view of recent events, citing Monday’s “positive” meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden.

China’s stock market rallied following the meeting, where the leaders pledged more frequent communication and ignited hopes for warmer ties between the world’s two largest economies.

Hong Kong, which has seen some of the world’s tightest COVID-19 restrictions severely hamper its economic growth, has also recently eased of some of its rules. 

“(We’re) hopeful about the future just because whether it’s real estate, COVID restrictions being eased, or better relationships between east and west, all these give us some hope about the future,” he said.

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