Hong Kong: The new and the familiar


The Lens Blog recently visited Hong Kong for the Fund Forum Asia conference and quickly learnt about a new acronym entering the lexicon of asset management.

VITA – which stands for Vietnam, India, Technology, and the Asian economy – relates to the areas to watch out for as key investment areas in Asia going forward.

But India and Vietnam did not get all the attention. The Lens also heard about Thailand’s importance to the region.

It turns out that Thailand is a significant hub for new investment, while there is also strong demand for Thai property from the Chinese. Although this is partly due to price, another driver is said to be Thailand’s educational system, which is gaining more recognition for its high level of quality.

Another acronym cropped up at the conference, but this time it was an acronym far more familiar to The Lens’s ears.

Although we often think (probably rightly) that ESG is a more dominant theme in the West, it is nevertheless taken seriously in Asia. It was not just the conference that gave this impression. There were events with an ESG theme at Fund Forum, certainly, but The Lens also noted a broader drive for public awareness in TV advertising. Even in the on-train video that played between the airport and city carried some related content.

So Hong Kong hit The Lens with both a touch of the familiar and a touch of the novel. VITA is one more development in the region supporting arguments that the future belongs to Asia while Europe’s best days are in the past (this view was expressed a number of times by economists at the conference).

However, while the future may well belong to Asia, the conference was also told that region needs to do more to step up corporate governance for the development of ESG.