Updated at 6.01pm: Hong Kong and China?s economic relationship had grown and developed in a number of important ways, acting Financial Secretary Stephen Ip Shu-kwan said on Friday. Mr Ip outlined some of the mutual benefits of this relationship ? at the opening ceremony of the London School of Economics (LSE) Asia Forum in Hong Kong. He said that while Hong Kong had been able to maximise opportunities from the mainland economy, China had benefited from the capital, expertise and high standards from Hong Kong. ?The continued reform and opening up of China?s economy, along with co-operation initiatives like the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (Cepa) between Hong Kong and the mainland, have further strengthened our economic ties.? Mr Ip said. ?China?s growth has created immense new opportunities for Hong Kong ? and for international investors ? in many different areas.? he added. Mr Ip cited the cross-border trade as an example, saying that as Hong Kong?s largest trading partner, the mainland accounted for 44 per cent of Hong Kong?s total trade in 2004. He noted that the total value of Hong Kong?s direct investment in China had reached US$250 billion (HK$1945 billion) by the end of June. In regards to manufacturing, Hong Kong?s investment on the mainland had amounted to HK$932 billion by the end of 2003. About 10 million mainland workers are employed in Guangdong by industrial ventures with Hong Kong investment. ?We expect that the mainland will continue to be the principal growth driver of our capital markets as more state-owned enterprises undergo restructuring. And our financial services industries will continue to capitalise on the growth opportunities in the mainland.? he said. Mr Ip said Hong Kong was contributing to the upgrading of corporate governance in the mainland. ?Driven by the need to comply with the listing criteria, as well as to compete successfully in an international market, mainland enterprises are inevitably keen to upgrade their level of corporate governance.? The acting Financial Secretary said the government had been working closely with financial regulators on various measures to improve corporate governance. Mr Ip said a case in point was a new Code on Corporate Governance Practices by Hong Kong Exchanges. This would also include establishing a Financial Reporting Council to investigate auditors? irregularities concerning listed corporations.