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The glorious and momentous days


A gist of the blog:

Last week, a delegation comprising over 200 representatives from Hong Kong and Macau attended the celebration activities in Beijing for the 40th anniversary of the country's reform and opening up.  The reform and opening up of the country in the past 40 years was a remarkable process, and as well the glorious and momentous days to Hong Kong people who were involved. While the outside world adopted a wait and see, skeptical or even denial attitude towards the reform during the initial stage, many Hong Kong people devoted themselves into the exercise, investing in infrastructures, sharing knowledge, experiences and technologies, and providing support to poverty alleviation and education in the Mainland.

Back to the 1980s, I also witnessed the accounting professionals' contributions towards the reform and opening up of the Mainland, and the unique and key role played by Hong Kong. At the time, many Hong Kong accountants, including myself, gave lectures in the Mainland to explain accounting principles and standards, and to share Hong Kong's experience and international practices in accounting. In addition, we took part in assisting the Mainland's integration into the international accounting and auditing standards.

After the establishment of the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CICPA) in 1988, Hong Kong accounting professionals assisted in building up network among the Mainland, Asia Pacific and international accounting professional bodies, so as to support the country to play a more significant role in international accounting practice and professional governance.

In 2006, when I was the Chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Institute signed a memorandum with CICPA to adopt alignment on the accounting systems of the two places, which in turn promote the international recognition of the Mainland's accounting standards.


In fact, similar to accounting professionals, many other professional sectors in Hong Kong also supported the reform and opening up by taking part in the establishment of systems which take into consideration the development and condition of the country, as well as the need to connect to international standards. This was also a learning process for the Hong Kong sectors involved to develop further.

Taking financial services as an example, with the internationalisation and expansion of the Mainland market, we gave full play to Hong Kong's role as a spot for demonstration and pilot schemes, testing ground and firewall. Since 1993 when the first Mainland enterprise had secured a listing in Hong Kong, the overseas listing channel for state-owned enterprises was established. The subsequent development of Red Chip Shares and A+H Shares facilitated the adoption of international accounting standards and governance in state-owned enterprises' operation and management. It also contributed to building Hong Kong's global leading position in IPO.  Another example was the launching of Shanghai Connect in 2014, which allows international and Mainland investors to trade securities in each other's markets through the trading and clearing facilities of their home exchange.

Looking ahead, with the changing circumstances in the Mainland and other parts of the world, the role and position of Hong Kong in assisting the development of the country will need to be adjusted.  Having said that, as far as we have a clear understanding and a good grasp of the overall situation, Hong Kong will continue to leverage its competitive edges in performing a unique and irreplaceable role in the course of the country's further reform and opening up.

November 18, 2018