A general view of Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, Hong Kong on Jan 2, 2023. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)

Placing Hong Kong’s contribution to national economic development at the front and center, respected figures of the special administrative region brainstormed how the city could channel its hard-earned wisdom to enlighten the Chinese mainland’s real estate market, trade and commerce, as well as cross-border asset flows on Friday in a seminar held by the One Country Two Systems Research Institute.

Hong Kong’s real estate market has gone through a baptism of fire, ending with a wealth of experience and a formula for success through trial and error, said Leung Chunying, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Having passed the test of time, Hong Kong’s tried and tested strategies in the housing market will be useful for the mainland to take its cue from.

Central to ensuring the security of people’s livelihoods, the HKSAR’s former chief executive said, is to regulate indemnificatory housing, which is distinguishable from commercial housing. “Housing and property represent the most prized cumulative asset of residents,” said Leung, who cautioned that property market ills could cause further problems in people’s living, well-being, economy and governance. 

Hong Kong is keen to share our experience with the mainland via training or exchange programs, which is a key step toward the SAR’s integration into the national blueprint.

Raymond Yip, Chief Liaison Officer, Guangzhou Nansha Service Centre, Hong Kong

Not only should price inflation be prevented — the trigger to unsettle a firm economy and financial risks — slumps in housing prices should also be kept at bay, he said. 

The housing market in all but a few regions is riddled with “real estate speculation”, which upsets the balance of supply and demand, where a buyer purchases property or land with the intention to sell it and make a profit.

Having been plagued by destructive profit-driven behavior, Hong Kong has come a long way in solving the puzzle with the introduction of stamp duty, Leung said. 

He said he will encourage the mainland to seek its equivalent answer, taking a leaf out of Hong Kong’s stamp duty, which has paid dividends in regulating the real estate market.

One of the world’s most significant free ports that is steeped in history and ranked sixth in the world’s leading import countries or regions for 2021, Hong Kong has nurtured an intimate and strategic rapport with numerous import and export merchants worldwide, said Raymond Yip, chief liaison officer of Guangzhou Nansha Service Centre in Hong Kong.

The offshore trade in goods last year generated value of HK$4.2 trillion ($540 billion), exceeding the value of goods involved in merchanting of HK$3.7 trillion, he said. 

The pattern of merchanting overtaking the offshore trade has since 2003 been reversed, which speaks volumes for the incremental importance of Hong Kong’s middleman role as a conduit of trade between the mainland and the rest of the world.

Cross-boundary collaboration in trade and commerce will reap mutual benefits, catapulting the mainland into a fast track trajectory of overseas trade expansion and sparking global affinity for products “sourced by Hong Kong”, he said.

Hong Kong has buttressed its cachet as a trade fair capital and convention hub globally and in Asia, and endeavors by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council have borne fruit, Yip said. 

“Hong Kong is keen to share our experience with the mainland via training or exchange programs, which is a key step toward the SAR’s integration into the national blueprint.”

Susie Cheung, co-convenor of AsiaPacific Structured Finance Association, shed light on Hong Kong’s integration into the country’s overall advancement from the perspective of promoting the city as a securitization financing hub. 

“The significance of cross-border securitization to the development of the mainland economy is profound,” Cheung said. 

“It can further expand the scale of mainland securitization, which will potentially boost its GDP growth; it can provide an additional source of funds for enterprises, especially helping small and medium-sized companies enlarge financing channels and relieving the burden of costs involved in financing; it is aligned with the national strategies of GBA development, the Belt and Road Initiative and RMB internationalization.”

“The seminar was well received in the Chinese mainland, with an estimated audience of 300,000 people tuning in to the live stream, Leung said. “The three aspects covered in the seminar today will be the primary three constants for discussion on our ‘integration’ agenda in the coming years,” he said.

Contact the writer at jenny@chinadailyhk.com