FEBRAURY 1, 2008
HONG KONG WELCOMES SWFS
CHINESE REGION’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE KEEN ON PARTNERSHIP WITH DUBAI
BY FRANCIS MATTHEW
Editor at Large
Dubai Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) and all other investors were welcomed to Hong Kong by Donald Tsang, chief executive of Hong Kong, at the end of his successful week long visit to the Arabian Gulf.
“I welcome any funds, I do not label them as sovereign or otherwise, but I want stable investors,” he told Gulf News.
“Sovereign funds are a stabilising force and are better tan commercial lenders, who can take away their money when it is most needed. Sovereign funds are loyal and they are mostly passive investors,” he added.
He added that political worries about sovereign funds were often out of place. “Those people who are worried about sovereign funds are very large political bodies like the United States.” Do you think anyone can push the USA around? Come on!” he commented dismissively.
“We have been looking for investors in Hong Kong and China, and this part of the world offers and excellent range of investors.
They have been hesitant so far to go into the mainland market, and we are the ideal intermediary,” Tsang said.
“But we now believe that the time ahs come to look for new sources of funds, and link them to the enormous opportunities for development we see in the mainland of China,” he said, referring specifically to the Arabian Gulf investors.
“All the ingredients are there for a good partnership between the Middle East and ourselves”.
“We have been custodians of an enormous amount of money in the securities markets,” he said referring to the Chinese surpluses, but added that “this money has never been enough to match the opportunities,” referring to interest in infrastructure such as ports, roads, and power generation and transmission, housing and real estate and trading.
Tsang also spoke of a specific opportunity with Dubai through the DIFC and the Hong Kong financial markets.
“Dubai is very advanced and very ambitious and they are doing what Hong Kong is doing.
“There is an enormous opportunity for partnership since we are not chasing the same catchment – they are looking at the Arabian Peninsula and we are looking at China and East Asia. We are still half a trading day apart. So there is a lot we can do together without any issues of competition”.
His comments were made at the end of what he called a “fruitful and exciting” seven day visit to the Arabian Gulf, which included Kuwait, Riyadh, Aby Dhabi and Dubai.