Principal officials of the fifth-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region take their oaths before President Xi Jinping (right), while newly installed Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (second from right) looks on, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday. (Photo by XU JINGXING/CHINA DAILY)
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor writes 'one country, two systems' has been at the heart of the SAR's success in the past 20 years and will continue to power its prosperity over the next 20 years and more
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region turned 20 yesterday. It was a memorable day, not just for Hong Kong but for our entire country.
Hong Kong's "one country, two systems" framework has been at the heart of our success these past 20 years and it will power Hong Kong's prosperity over the next 20 years and more.
Thanks to "one country", Hong Kong has benefited enormously from the Chinese mainland's rapid rise as a global economic force and its unswerving commitment to our city and its people. And the "two systems" has ensured that our international outlook, connections and exchanges have continued to grow and mature in all manner of areas, including commerce, finance, trade, culture and tourism.
Nothing inspires cooperation more than confidence. In Hong Kong's case, it is the rule of law that brings confidence to companies, large and small, from all over the world. The rule of law, together with the independence of our judiciary and the transparency of our legal system, reassures companies keen to trade with Hong Kong, to set up offices in Hong Kong. They use Hong Kong as a regional base from which to target the boundless markets of the mainland and the rest of Asia.
Hong Kong's free enterprise system is a perfect complement to the rule of law. Earlier this year, the United States-based Heritage Foundation named Hong Kong as the world's freest economy－for the 23rd year in a row－in its annual "Index of Economic Freedom" report. Among the report's 12 measured components, Hong Kong ranked first in Fiscal Health, Trade Freedom and Financial Freedom among the 180 economies covered in the report. The foundation also recognized Hong Kong's high-quality legal framework, low tolerance for corruption, efficient regulatory framework and open markets.
There's more behind our "wide open for business" sign. Hong Kong attracts a world of companies－nearly 8,000 at last count, including 75 of the world's largest banks－thanks to its free flow of information and talent, minimal red tape, level playing field for business and low and simple tax regime.
It's no wonder that the World Competitiveness Yearbook has ranked Hong Kong No 1 in the world for the past two years in a row. The yearbook is an annual publication of the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development. Hong Kong finished fourth among the easiest places to do business in the World Bank's "Doing Business Report 2017".
We're certainly among the easiest cities in the world to raise capital. Our stock market has topped the world in initial public offerings for the past two years. It's also enabling Hong Kong's gateway role to mainland markets, while smoothing the way for mainland investors to invest in Hong Kong-listed companies. Indeed, more than 1,000 mainland companies are listed on our stock exchange. They account for more than 60 percent of its total market capitalization. The Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, which debuted last December, and the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, launched in 2014, are further expanding our financial cross-fertilization with the mainland. There's more on the way from Stock Connect. Bond Connect is expected to be launched later this year on a trial basis.