Leading Hong Kong academics yesterday dismissed claims a yuan devaluation would bring the Hong Kong dollar's link with the United States unit to an end. The academics told an Asia Society conference on Hong Kong one year after the transition that the SAR could benefit from the pick-up in mainland trade. Professor Michael Enright and Professor Richard Wong, both from the University of Hong Kong, also dismissed claims Beijing was coming under pressure to devalue. Mr Enright, Sun Hung Kai Visiting Professor of Business Administration, said he could foresee pressure on the yuan if a huge volume of products from Southeast Asia began competing directly with mainland exports. 'This has not happened because Southeast Asia has not got the capital to increase exports.' A surge in competing exports would have to coincide with mainland reforms hitting unforeseen difficulties, such as widespread social dislocation and pressure. 'If these two things happened then the yuan would come under substantial pressure. The linkage is probably more psychological than economic,' Mr Enright said. Critics of the peg have claimed it would be very difficult to contain the psychological impact that a devaluation of the yuan would have. School of Business director Mr Wong said a weak yuan would boost mainland export growth. The increasing flow of goods would generate work for Hong Kong as a service centre. 'A yuan devaluation would help Hong Kong to prosper.' Guangdong Investment managing director, former head of listing at the stock exchange, Herbert Hui Ho-ming said: 'At this stage, China is not under any pressure to devalue. 'If the Asian economic crisis persisted then they would have to look at it very closely. 'But having worked closely with Chinese leaders, I have great respect that they mean what they say when they say they won't devalue,' Mr Hui said.