Under the impact of the fourth wave of the epidemic in Hong Kong, the restrictions on gathering and the ban on evening food in restaurants have both been added, making Li Xiaojia’s departure seem quiet. In an online media group interview organized half a month ago, Li Xiaojia said with regret, “originally, I planned to go through every department in this month, and every employee would be able to have a chat with each other. It seems that this ideal can not be realized.”
Li Xiaojia’s contract with HKEx originally expired in October 2021. In May 2020, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange announced for the first time that Li Xiaojia would not renew his contract and leave the post of chief executive after the contract expired. However, only four months later, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange announced again that Li Xiaojia would advance his departure date by 10 months to December 31, 2020.
The Hang Seng Index and the stock price of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange fell in varying degrees at the node of the two announcements of leaving office. This is also regarded as the market’s response to the departure of the soul figure of the pilot stock exchange for 11 years.
“Li Xiaojia can be said to be unprecedented, and there is no one to come.” Wei Shanwei, executive deputy general manager of Huaxing securities, who was the CEO of Ping An Securities Hong Kong company and had many contacts with Li Xiaojia, commented on Tencent News “Qianwang”. Wu Biwei, President of FTU securities finance and enterprise services, made a more direct comment: “Li Xiaojia is the chief executive of the Hong Kong stock exchange, who has the greatest impact on the future development of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and even Hong Kong.”
Due to historical and geographical factors, many forces, such as Britain, the United States, the mainland, and Chinese capital, converge and interweave on Hong Kong Island, forming a delicate balance. The new reform is bound to break the balance and damage the interests of some people.
In order to promote reform, he needs to play games with some forces from time to time, but more often, he talks and cooperates with these people. These forces come from financial regulators, big industry funds, and even inside the Hong Kong stock exchange.
He called himself a “plumber” and only dredged and cleaned up the system, leaving the rest to the market. He is humorous and good at lobbying all parties with metaphors to make room for reform. At the same time, he didn’t care about trifles. In a group visit in Davos, because there were not enough chairs, he simply sat on the table and talked with us for an hour and a half.
During the past 11 years, he led the Hong Kong stock exchange out of the financial crisis, balanced the interests of all parties, interconnected with the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges, attracted mainland funds, released the same shares with different rights, and embraced the new economy. The IPO fund-raising amount has become the global champion seven times. These efforts will also turn Hong Kong, which is too confused by traditional industries, into Asia’s largest financing place for new economy companies and return to the center of the international financial arena.
In particular, the rise of Chinese capital and the new economic era have completely changed the original gloomy outlook of Hong Kong’s capital market. From the perspective of capital structure, in the Hong Kong stock market after the interconnection between the north and the south, the share of capital trading from the mainland of China has reached “one third of the world”; from the perspective of the types of listed companies, the market value of new economy companies in the Hong Kong market has accounted for nearly half of the country; in the new IPO, there are more and more Chinese funded institutions as cornerstone investors.
Of course, there have been setbacks in 11 years. He launched a M & a blitz against the stock exchange of London, aiming to build a global exchange giant covering the three time zones of Asia, Europe and the United States. However, he was rejected immediately, which became a pity before he left office.
“I really think it’s a gamble for the HKEx to choose me as its chief executive.” At the online farewell meeting half a month ago, Li Xiaojia reviewed his 11 years at the helm of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and humbly attributed the credit to “catching up with the good times”. He concluded to Tencent News “Qianwang” that “these 11 years have just given me a lot of opportunities. I just seize these opportunities in good time I tried my best, and it seemed that everyone was satisfied with me. ”
In his farewell letter on December 30, Li Xiaojia revealed that he would not leave Hong Kong for the next step. “He hopes to use the” water conservancy knowledge “he learned in the Hong Kong stock exchange to continue to contribute to Hong Kong, the country and the market.”
Tencent News “Qianwang” learned that before leaving office, Li Xiaojia frequently contacted some giant companies. Market participants speculated that Li Xiaojia intended to attract some industrial capital, and the next step might be to focus on fund investment and financing solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises.
At the media farewell meeting, Li Xiaojia did not explain this arrangement. He humorously said that he would not work any more, but as for what to do, “I will tell you when I eat Nanji River noodles next year.”
“Outsiders” in the exchange
In 2009, the chief executive of the Hong Kong stock exchange, Zhou Wenyao, is about to retire, which coincides with the spread of the financial crisis and the continuous decline of the performance growth of the Hong Kong stock exchange. Attracting mainland funds and high-quality companies to Hong Kong has become the key way for the Hong Kong stock exchange to get out of the morass.
Born in Beijing and raised in Gansu, he worked as an oil driller, a journalist, a lawyer after studying in the United States, and many American investment banks With both Chinese background and Wall Street experience, Li Xiaojia’s qualifications seem impeccable.
The headhunter found him and wanted him to try the role of CEO of HKEx. Among the interviewers, Xia Jiali and Shi Meilun, the two chairmen of the Hong Kong stock exchange, all favored his resume.
However, once the news of Li Xiaojia’s intention to be the chief executive was announced, there was an uproar. Not only are they worried that they have no regulatory experience and are not familiar with local institutions in Hong Kong, but they are also worried that for the first time in the 20-year history of the establishment of the Hong Kong stock exchange, people from mainland backgrounds have taken up this position.
As for this “outsider”, Zhou Wenyao, who has been in charge of the HKEx for many years, responded to the media in Taiwan, “I haven’t met him and I don’t know him.”.
Li Yaoxin, chairman of the Hong Kong Securities Brokers Association, also expressed concern and surprise over Li Xiaojia’s appointment through the media. “The operational investment bank is different from the Hong Kong stock exchange. The latter is a very unique industry. Many technical projects of the Hong Kong stock exchange, such as paperless securities and upgrading of the trading system, need to be handled by familiar talents, but Li Xiaojia is blank in this respect.”
Kuang Qizhi, the first chief executive after the listing of the Hong Kong stock exchange, left because of his lack of practical experience.
For these questions, Li Xiaojia said with a smile that he was “the ignorant and fearless”. In order to win more local recognition, he asked his teachers to help him learn Cantonese and moved his family to live in Hong Kong.
As soon as he took office, Li Xiaojia put forward his ambition: to connect the world and China in the Asian period, and become a real financial center in the world in the Asian period. “There are four customers we want to meet in Hong Kong – Chinese money and Chinese goods, world money and world goods,” he wrote in a blog. Goods refer to listed companies, bonds, currencies and commodities. ”
However, in order to continue to introduce these “four customers”, the HKEx first needs to be in line with other markets, especially with the A-share trading time. Li Xiaojia plans to shorten the noon break time of Hong Kong stock trading from 2 hours to 1.5 hours in a “two-step” way, and then to 1 hour a year later.
Shortening the lunch break is unacceptable to a large number of local institutions and practitioners who make a living in securities brokerage business in Hong Kong. Wu Biwei, President of futu securities finance and enterprise services, explained to Tencent News “Qianwang” that, unlike the late comer advantage of the mainland, the development of securities online business is in full swing. Most of the local securities brokers in Hong Kong obtain customers’ trading volume through face-to-face visits at noon, which has become a tradition for many years. Shorten the lunch break, affect their communication with customers, and then affect the transaction and income.
In order to oppose Li Xiaojia’s reform, the securities trade union of Hong Kong launched many processions and held a “bowl smashing ceremony”, implying that the reform had ruined their jobs and demanded that Li Xiaojia step down. Even restaurants and restaurants near central sent representatives to participate in the parade, because the shortening of lunch break also affected their business.
Under the heavy resistance, Li Xiaojia comforted the industry with “bitter before sweet”. In his long article on the reform measures of the Hong Kong stock exchange market, he stated that “the reform of extending the trading hours will not have a significant effect at the beginning, but the Hong Kong stock exchange is at the crossroads of reform, and reform is imperative.” He also summed up the future development strategy of HKEx, namely “three centers”, the “preferred overseas fund-raising center” of mainland enterprises, “the first overseas investment center” of mainland capital “and” all-round international financial center “.