Nuggets of Wisdom

Monday, March 23, 2015

Libertarian Economic Policy: Hong Kong


As one of the world's leading international financial centers, Hong Kong's service-oriented economy is characterised by its low taxation, almost free port trade and well established international financial market. Its currency, called the Hong Kong dollar, is legally issued by three major international commercial banks, and pegged to the US Dollar. Interest rates are determined by the individual banks in Hong Kong to ensure it is fully market-driven. There is no central banking system in Hong Kong. When destabilising factors are hitting the financial market of Hong Kong, they will be monitored and inspected by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. Electronic finance trading is evolutionarily impacting the financial market of Hong Kong.

According to Index of Economic Freedom, Hong Kong has had the highest degree of economic freedom in the world since the inception of the Index in 1995. Its economy is governed under positive non-interventionism, and is highly dependent on international trade and finance. In 2009, Hong Kong's real economic growth fell by 2.8% as a result of the global financial turmoil.

Hong Kong's economic strengths include a sound banking system, virtually no public debt, a strong legal system, ample foreign exchange reserves, rigorous anti-corruption measures and close ties with the mainland China. Despite the downturn, these strengths enable it to quickly respond to changing circumstances. It has the most efficient and a corruption-free application procedure, the lowest income tax, the lowest corporate tax as well as an abundant and sustainable government finance. The government of Hong Kong consistently upheld the policy of encouraging and supporting activities of private businesses. Examples include the Cyberport and the Hong Kong Disneyland. This has a positive impact on the overall economic performance by removing unnecessary barriers for the private enterprises in the Special Administrative Region. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is a favourable destination for international firms and firms from the mainland China to be listed on due to Hong Kong's highly internationalised and modernised financial industry along with its capital market in Asia, its size, regulations and available financial tools, which are comparable to London and New York.

Hong Kong's gross domestic product has grown 180 times between 1961 and 1997. Also, the GDP per capita rose by 87 times within the same time frame. Its economy size is slightly bigger than Israel and Ireland and its GDP per capita at purchasing power parity is the sixth highest globally in 2011, higher than the United States and the Netherlands and slightly lower than the Brunei.

By the late 20th century, Hong Kong was the seventh largest port in the world and second only to New York and Rotterdam in terms of container throughput. Hong Kong is a full Member of World Trade Organization. The Kwai Chung container complex was the largest in Asia; while Hong Kong shipping owners were second only to those of Greece in terms of total tonnage holdings in the world. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is the fifth largest in the world, with a market capitalisation of about US$2.63 trillion.

Hong Kong has also had an abundant supply of labour from the regions nearby. A skilled labour force coupled with the adoption of modern British/Western business methods and technology ensured that opportunities for external trade, investment, and recruitment were maximised. Prices and wages in Hong Kong are relatively flexible, depending on the performance and stability of the economy of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong raises revenues from the sale and taxation of land and through attracting international businesses to provide capital for its public finance, due to its low tax policy. According to Healy Consultants, Hong Kong has most attractive business environment within East Asia, in terms of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). This has led to Hong Kong being the third largest recipient of FDI in the world. From its revenues, the government has built roads, schools, hospitals, and other public infrastructure facilities and services. Low levels of spending relative to GDP by having no spending on armed forces, minimal outlays for foreign affairs and modest recurrent social welfare spending have allowed the accumulation of very large fiscal reserves with minimal foreign debt.

Though not conventionally regarded as a tax haven, Hong Kong ranked fourth on the Tax Justice Network's 2011 Financial Secrecy Index.

Acting as a government, Hong Kong is the second highest ranked Asian government in the World Economic Forum's Network Readiness Index (NRI) – an indicator for determining the development level of a government's information and communication technologies. Hong Kong ranked eighth overall in the 2014 NRI ranking, up from 14 in 2013.


- "Economy of Hong Kong", Wikipedia.