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Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited chairman Chow Chung-kong and Leung Chun-ying beat a gong at the Stock Connect launch ceremony. HKEx chairman Chow Chung-kong has vowed to step up promotions across the border.

HKEx to step up pitch for mainland interest in Hong Kong stocks under tie-up

After lacklustre southbound trade under market link, the exchange's boss says more will be done to spur mainland interest in city's stocks


Hong Kong stock exchange's top man has pronounced the fledgling market link with Shanghai a success despite a disproportionate flow of northbound investments that has prompted a vow to step up promotions across the border.

"We could do more promotional and investor education to mainland investors to let them know more about the Hong Kong market and its stocks," Chow Chung-kong, the chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, said yesterday.

Chow said the low turnover for southbound trades under the through train did not mean the scheme, which was launched on Monday to high hopes after a delayed start, was not successful.

"There are not technical problems and the cross-border trading has worked very smoothly since the launch," Chow said at a media briefing. "We may only have taken a very small step. But with a small step after another small step, we will develop an active market eventually."

He said its long-term success depended on international traders' interest in the mainland market and mainlanders' appetite for overseas investment. "Hong Kong will have a role to play in this capital flow," he added.

The first three trading days under the scheme have been marked by a strong push by international institutional investors into the A-share market, but with relatively few mainlanders taking the opportunity to trade Hong Kong stocks directly.

Northbound turnover stood at 2.84 billion yuan (HK$3.6 billion) yesterday, using up 21 per cent of the daily quota of 13 billion yuan as calculated on a net basis. Southbound turnover was HK$495.92 million, filling just 2.4 per cent of the 10.5 billion yuan quota.

Adrian Mowat, chief Asian and emerging-markets equity strategist for JPMorgan, said northbound flows would likely continue to outpace Hong Kong-bound investments.

"In talking to local brokers and counterparties of JPMorgan on the mainland, they have always highlighted there was limited interest from retail investors to go into Hong Kong," Mowat said, citing a key impediment that mainlanders must have at least 500,000 yuan to trade in the scheme, while many such clients already trade in Hong Kong through local brokers.

"I don't think that southbound flows will push up the Hang Seng Index … We do expect money in the savings pool to move into China equities but investors probably will continue to focus on A shares."

Chow said yesterday that retail investors had accounted for most of the southbound trade, which covered 96 per cent of the 268 Hong Kong stocks qualified for the scheme on Monday.

Northbound trade was dominated by institutional investors, which focused on the bigger stocks.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: HK vows through train sales push