Editor’s note: These interviews, marking the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, explore the experiences of experts and industry organizations operating in the region over the past quarter century.
A member of various HKSAR government advisory committees, including the Financial Services Development Council and the Financial Infrastructure Committee of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Joe Ngai is one of the best witnesses to the before and after history of Hong Kong.
“I still remember that in 1997, a lot of people were wondering if the Hong Kong financial market was going to be successful. They were worried about the stability of the market and the peg between Hong Kong and the US dollar,” recalls Ngai.
Twenty-five years later, the doubt has proven to be “useless and naïve”, Ngai said. Looking at the size of the financial market today, compared to what it was before 1997, the difference is obvious and startling, he said.
“People who left (the city) around 1997 missed 25 golden years of Hong Kong’s development. It is remarkable that Hong Kong has continued to prosper, with accelerated growth, which has been achieved through the giant leaps made by the (Chinese) mainland,” Ngai said.
Besides, Hong Kong’s prosperity summit is yet to come, Ngai said. “Hong Kong’s best years are ahead of us, rather than behind us.”
Hong Kong’s future lies in and is intertwined with the entire Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, he said. For Ngai, the city’s future is predictable, but how the situation develops depends heavily on how Hong Kong uses its inherent advantages and meets the central government’s expectations for the special administrative region.
In the short and long term, Hong Kong is expected and will be the engine of the Greater Bay Area in a few areas, especially financial services, professional services, innovation and technology, and economic and business globalization. , Ngai said.