Zhao Xijun: HSBC investing in China driven by interests, not politics


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Zhao Xijun: HSBC investing in China driven by interests, not politics


Source:Global Times    Published: 2020-07-06

Editor's Note: HSBC recently announced it plans to further boost investment in the Chinese mainland, despite the escalating number of critics it faces from Western politicians and media due to its support for the National Security Law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The company has signaled new investment of introducing demand-driven and customized wealth management and insurance services empowered by digital technologies. In interviews with the Global Times, two Chinese economists noted that the investment move was essentially driven by the firm's demand of business expansion in promising markets, rather than Western media's skewed notion of a political gesture to flatter China.

Zhao Xijun, vice president of the School of Finance at Renmin University of China

For commercial institutions, the initial determiner of an investment plan is the growth potential and development prospect of a market or industry which could maximize profits in the future.

Originally from Asia, the UK-headquartered HSBC operates a large amount of its business in the Asia-Pacific region, maintaining a profound historical and commercial background in the region. The Asia-Pacific region has seen promising growth potential across the world, especially at a time when the global economy is under huge pressure brought about by the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

China is undoubtedly the economic entity with the most favorable growth prospects among Asia's countries and regions, making it an enticing opportunity for investments in financial industries.

China has been ramping up its efforts to promote the opening-up of its financial market with a rapidly improving business environment. By contrast, Western markets have seen rising anti-globalization and protectionism, which will cause concern for potential investments by multinationals.

Certain politicians from the UK chose to ignore economic principles and intensify conflict with China out of short-term political interests. However, it will inevitably result in obstacles for British enterprises' development overseas, and will not be embraced by most firms in the long run.

Chen Bo, director of the Finance Research Center at the Institute of Finance and Economics at the Central University of Finance and Economics

HSBC remains advantageous in regard to its services and internationalization. It is reasonable for the company to further expand investment in the Chinese mainland in fields of wealth management, insurance, and financial technology.

China has been steadily promoting its financial market's opening-up and offering preferential policies to foreign financial institutions. HSBC will not be ruled out of the market as long as it can abide by Chinese laws and regulations, including the recently established National Security Law for Hong Kong. In fact, it is a prerequisite for any multinational corporation to respect and comply with local laws.

Although Western countries pressure China over the national security law for the HKSAR, which may result in fluctuations in the market, they will not persist, because a stable business environment is critical for all businesses.

Against the backdrop of a gloomy global economy, China's economy may be the only one to see positive growth among other large economies. With a large scale market size, it will remain attractive for foreign investments.

Zhao Xijun is associate dean of School of Finance and senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.