The powers that be might shrug off popular discontent, but they will "listen to money", says Pete Sweeney on Breakingviews. That explains Hong Kong's decision to shelve a controversial extradition bill. Plans to allow residents to be sent to face mainland courts have sparked mass protests that ultimately forced Carrie Lam, the city's leader, to suspend the bill indefinitely. Yet that gesture did not calm the unrest. Organisers claim that up to two million people, nearly 30% of Hong Kong's entire population, turned out last Sunday regardless.
China's leaders do not want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, says Sweeney. Hong Kong accounted for about 12% of the mainland's exports last year and is the single largest source of "realised foreign direct investment" to China. Its stock exchange gives mainland firms "an independent channel to international capital outside... New York or London".
East meets West
Under the "one country, two systems" framework instituted after its return to China in 1997, Hong Kong has retained significant autonomy over its own affairs. Yet recent years have brought a creeping "China-isation", says William Pesek in the Nikkei Asian Review. The latest drama comes against a "fragile economic backdrop". Growth in the first quarter was the slowest in a decade and rocketing property prices have stoked discontent. But previous bets against the city have proved wrongheaded. Those who sold Hong Kong property before the 1997 handover "are seriously out of pocket".
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
Washington's decisions could prove just as important as Beijing's, says Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in The Daily Telegraph. The US recognises Hong Kong as having a "special status", which exempts it from Trump's tariffs. The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the greenback. Yet with a trade war raging, moves are afoot in the US Congress to bring those cosy arrangements to an end. The Fragrant Harbour's role as the world's third-biggest financial hub "can no longer be taken for granted".
The latest development underlines the threat to Hong Kong's financial status from the likes of Shanghai and Singapore, says Bloomberg Businessweek. With mounting "instability and fear" in Hong Kong and regional competitors upping their game, the city faces "a perfect storm".
Who is the richest person in the world?
The top five richest people in the world have a combined net worth of $825 billion. Who takes the crown for the richest person in the world?
By Vaishali Varu Published
Top 10 stocks with highest growth over past decade - from Nvidia, Microsoft to Netflix, which companies made you the most money?
We reveal the 10 global companies with the biggest returns since 2013. One firm has posted an astonishing 9,870% return, meaning a £1,000 investment would now be worth almost £82,000.
By Ruth Emery Published