Pacific Century: Characteristics And Behaviors of the Retail Investor In Hong Kong and China

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22 February 2020
William Trout


The increasing importance of the retail investor in Asia, and in Hong Kong in particular, is being driven by China. While Hong Kong provides a gateway to the mainland, China serves as a source of investment dollars for Hong Kong and a capital magnet for the larger Pacific region, ,

Ultimately, of course, the China’s influence on Hong Kong, and indeed, on the rest of Asia will transcend financial considerations. China’s physical size and location, and the soft power exercised by an affluent and educated diaspora, translates into socio-cultural impact. This impact is already visible in the form of specific investment behaviors, e.g. notably the reliance on a self-sufficient or DIY approach to investing, and the online brokerage and related infrastructure being put in place to support it. Hong Kong will continue to profit from and strain under the influence of its neighbor and political master.

Recently, political tensions and a pandemic have underscored the increasingly and often uncomfortable interdependence of China and Hong Kong. Indeed, the challenges of dealing with the coronavirus have largely supplanted coverage of the student-led protests that appeared to threaten Hong Kong's status as a global financial hub. The onus is now on China to tackle the pandemic in a way that protects public safety without undercutting internal engines of growth. Meanwhile, Hong Kong must find a way to sustain its position as a global financial hub amidst in the face of powerful economic and political cross-winds.

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