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China reminds the world not to count out Hong Kong

China has a firm retort for Western elites who argue that Hong Kong’s economy and financial hub future is a dead duck: follow the money.

In a global finance forum in Beijing over the weekend, Fang Xinghai said all the appropriate and predictable things an audience expects the vice-chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission to say.

China, he pledged, is stepping up efforts to raise its economic game, strengthen the financial infrastructure and attract more foreign investment.

Yet it was Fang’s Sunday comments about broadening the scope for China’s stock connect program link with Hong Kong that grabbed headlines.

Ostensibly, the goal is to lure more capital to the mainland. Beijing is working up revised rules to increase the number of mainland stocks in circulation that foreigners can hold, a percentage that now stands at a miserly 4.7%.

For comparison, there are 30% quotas in Japan and South Korea.

What Fang really did was remind why rumors of Hong Kong’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

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