HONG KONG, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong's strengths and resilience have not been undermined in face of social unrest and challenges in recent months, and it will not miss out emerging opportunities to further develop, senior officials of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government said here on Monday.
While opening the 13th Asian Financial Forum (AFF) in Hong Kong, Chief Executive of HKSAR Carrie Lam said Hong Kong's core competitiveness and status as one of the world's premier financial centers continue to be internationally recognized.
Hong Kong was ranked third in the world in the Global Financial Centers Index last September, just behind New York and London. In December 2019, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reaffirmed Hong Kong's position as a global financial center and regional trading hub, and one of the most open economies in the world.
The chief executive spoke highly of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development, saying the Greater Bay Area, with a population of about 70 million and a combined GDP equivalent of around 1.6 trillion U.S. dollars, and its huge market potential, presented boundless promise for Hong Kong, particularly the financial services sector.
"Coupled with the Belt and Road Initiative, the Greater Bay Area development will ensure long-term prospects for Hong Kong's economy," she said, adding that through the two national policies, Hong Kong will enhance its role as a business bridge between the Chinese mainland and the rest of the world.
Lam said she is "confident that we will bridge our divide, (and) that we will realize the common goal of a re-united community and a flourishing economy" through the concerted efforts of the HKSAR government and the people of Hong Kong.
Echoing her opinion, Paul Chan, financial secretary of the HKSAR government, said, "We will also step up efforts to capitalize on emerging opportunities -- not only from green finance and Fintech, but (also) from the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative."
"Hong Kong is, and will remain, the business bridge between the mainland and the rest of the world," he said.
Chan added that green finance is the policy priority going forward, and financial technology is another area that Hong Kong is striving to excel. Green bonds issued and arranged in Hong Kong increased over 200 percent to 11 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 as compared to the previous year.
The two-day event, themed "Redefining Growth: Innovation Breakthrough Inclusiveness", touches on a wide range of issues including global economic outlook and opportunities, fintech, sustainable and inclusive development, green finance and financial inclusion, offering participants a head start on identifying new economic challenges and opportunities in 2020.