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Hong Kong Most Competitive Financial Center in Asia
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Hong Kong takes the lead in Asia in most factors which are considered as important to a financial center, said the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong Thursday.


"Hong Kong has a critical mass of expertise in the financial services and related professional sectors," said the agency in a study conducted for the Corporation of London.


"Its regulatory framework is sound and of international standards, and it also has a responsive government," it said.


As the freest economy in the world, Hong Kong has ready access to international financial markets and customers, the study said, adding that the business infrastructure is advanced and sophisticated, and the business environment open and competitive.


In addition, tax rates in Hong Kong are very low and the tax system is simple and efficient. Moreover, these factors ensure that market forces work well, according to the study.


"Nevertheless, there is no room for complacency. Globalization is leveling the playing field," said the study, noting that other markets in the region are striving to become more significant players in the region.


Therefore, Hong Kong should continue to further strengthen its competitive advantages and to improve other areas such as enhancing competition, ensuring ease of doing business, improving quality of life, and addressing environmental issues in order to stay ahead in the competition, said the study.


According to the study, 14 competitive factors were identified as most important to a financial center. The SFC research categorized them into six groups and examined the competitiveness of Hong Kong with the 12 selected economies in Asia.


The competitive factors include availability of skilled personnel and access to suppliers of professional services, regulatory environment and government responsiveness as well as access to international financial markets and access to customers.


The 12 selected Asian economies include Australia, the Chinese mainland, China's Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.


(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2006)


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