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Paul Chan Mo-po

Hong Kong’s new financial chief promises a more diverse economy to benefit all

Paul Chan says he will explore new markets and new industries while consolidating the city’s traditional economic pillars

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 January, 2017, 5:29pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 January, 2017, 11:04pm

Hong Kong’s new financial secretary, Paul Chan Mo-po, has pledged to inject diversity and sustainability into the city’s economy so that everyone from every class will enjoy the fruits of prosperity.

Writing his first blog post since being appointed last week, Chan also recalled his time as secretary for development over the past four and a half years.

“The workload over the past few years has been heavy, and full of resistance. But my team showed no fears about the difficulties and has worked with unity,” he wrote. “In the coming few years, the housing and office supply will reach a new high in recent years. That will help to alleviate the problem of housing and high rents. This, to me and my colleagues, is the best return of our efforts.”

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At a time of globalisation, he said, Hong Kong was facing even more intense competition. As financial chief, his top priority was to maintain the city’s outstanding business environment.

“As I consolidate the strength of our traditional economic pillars, I will also explore new markets and support new industries, in order to make Hong Kong’s economy more diverse and sustainable, and to give better job opportunities to the teenagers,” Chan said.

He believed that as long as the economy was sound, the government would introduce suitable policies to enable people from every class to enjoy the fruits of economic development.

Chan served as a lawmaker for the accountancy sector from 2008 before he was appointed development chief. But he will have to win over critics who have questioned his capability in his new role. And he is no stranger to controversy.

Between 2012 and 2013, Chan came under the spotlight for his involvement in the development of a new town at Kwu Tung North, where his family owned 18,000 sq ft of farmland, and a company owning illegally subdivided flats, controlled by his wife. Chan had initially denied knowledge of the flats.

There were calls for him to step down, and lawmakers passed a non-binding motion urging his removal.