Corporate Governance in Hong Kong
Bruce Aronson and Joongi Kim (eds.), Corporate Governance in Asia: A Comparative Approach (United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2019) 150-181.
Posted: 26 Nov 2019 Last revised: 17 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 25, 2019
Since the 1990s, Hong Kong has been working hard to improve its corporate governance system. Although a common law jurisdiction, its stock market differs from the NYSE and LSE, as there has always been a large concentration of ownership which brings a set of different agency problems, namely expropriation of minority interests rather than managerial abuses. But at the same time, there is an increasing number of mainland state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the market which brings all types of agency problems, namely managerial abuses, expropriation of minority interest, and the failure to pursue shareholder value maximization. To add to the complication, 85 percent of the listed companies are not incorporated in Hong Kong, which means that many provisions in the Companies Ordinance do not apply. Thus, the regulators including the exchange and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) have to think outside the box to come up with effective measures to improve corporate governance. By and large, they have succeeded in crafting a system that is comparable to the international standards. However, room for further improvement remains in the effective enforcement of those standards.
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