Hong Kong’s Weaker Financial Hub Appeal is Japan’s Opportunity, Aso Says
(Bloomberg) -- Japan should consider setting up a special economic zone for global banking businesses now that Hong Kong is losing its appeal as a financial hub amid China’s crackdown, according to Japanese finance minister Taro Aso.
Hong Kong’s ability to function as a hub of international finance is being eroded, Aso told reporters in Tokyo. “We need to think about a lot of things, including setting up something like a special zone” for the industry, Aso said Tuesday.
Aso’s comments came after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Monday that he wants to push ahead with efforts to build an international financial center in the country.
If Japan is going to win more business in global finance, it needs to encourage more use of English, end the tradition of requiring documents to be physically stamped, and adjust various rules for foreign workers, Aso said.
“Doing this will of course help revitalize the Japanese market,” he said. “We’ve received orders to take action with a sense of speed.”
Economist Koya Miyamae at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. said past efforts efforts to create special economic zones to boost growth weren’t focused enough, but the idea could work now with Hong Kong losing its attractiveness.
“The situation in Hong Kong isn’t going back to the way it was,” he said, adding that Japan will still need to offer measures such as tax breaks to lure businesses away.
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