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Crisis gives Hong Kong 'extraordinary opps'

Monday 17 January 2011 - by Andrew Naylor

The chief executive of the Government of the Hong Kong has called on the Asia Pacific region to grasp the opportunities of the new economic order.

Speaking at this year's Asia Financial forum in Hong Kong, Donald Tsang said the recent financial crisis has "presented our city with extraordinary opportunities".

Tsang says that with strong domestic demand in China, relatively good fiscal positions across the region and rebounding regional investor confidence, the Asia Pacific region and Hong Kong in particular is well placed to seize the economic opportunity of the moment and consolidate its strong growth position.

Hong Kong is both a gateway to China and a path to internationalisation for mainland Chinese enterprises.

With protectionist pressures mounting in other parts of the world, maintaining economic freedom is vital for Hong Kong to retain its competitive position - a recent report by the Heritage Foundation placed four APAC economies in the top four ranks for economic freedom. Hong Kong topped the list followed by Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

Hong Kong's early action to contain the crisis including targeted funding for SMEs and depositor protection schemes to retain confidence in the banking system has paid off.

With consumption in the developing world falling, new supply and demand chains have opened up in Asia. Asia is increasingly interconnected and for the region to remain economically successful, it is vital that Asian markets open up further.

Commentators and experts at the forum are optimistic that the centre of economic gravity will permanently shift East and that Asia's growing economic clout will be matched by growing influence in the policymaking process.

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