Standard and PoorÆs rang in 2005 by celebrating theáten year anniversary of its Hong Kong office opening and suggesting that the Territory is in a good position to become the international finance hub for China. The commemorative gala brought together former colleagues, regional team members andáassociates of the TerritoryÆs financial community, including the Secretary of the Finance Services and Treasury Bureau, Frederick Ma.
The year marks something of a landmark for the ratings agency in Asia, with office opening anniversaries occurring not only in Hong Kong, but also in its Tokyo (20 years), Melbourne (15 years), Seoul (five years) and Beijing (one year) operations.
Ma sang the praises of the ratings service, suggesting that its contribution to Hong KongÆs financial landscape has outstanding. Joining the financial services secretary in praising S&Ps Hong Kong operations was Thomas G. Schiller, executive managing director, Asia-Pacific, who jetted in from Tokyo to attend the event.
The anniversary celebrations corresponded with the recent release of an S&P report, which stresses that Hong Kong will remain the mainlandÆs preferred point to global capital markets. Its stressed that its development and maturityáwould win overáagainst growing competition from Shanghai.
According to S&P, the territoryÆs resilience over the past ten years provides a strong indication of its future as a global financial finance centre and ChinaÆs world cityáover the coming decade.
ôHong KongÆs economic structure has been in transition for the pastáten years,ö says Paul Coughlin, S&PÆs managing director and head of it corporate and government ratings. ôOn one hand Hong Kong has aspired to become AsiaÆs world city. But as events have transpired, Hong Kong is emerging as ChinaÆs world city with the Territory increasinglyáfocusing on its own hinterland -áhaving cemented its position as a key business services hub for the Pearl River Delta.öááá
S&PÆs Asia-Pacific equity research services also stressed that Hong Kong's equity markets were in good shape and would continue to be theápreferred destination for mainland listings.
On the other hand, the ratings agency did see potential risksáas a result ofácloser integration with China. It said concerns aboutágovernance issues and IPO conduct might increase over time.áS&P also estimates that migration of low-value work to the mainland from Hong Kong's middle- and low-income earners would continue to affect the Territory negatively.