HKU Business School and University of Glasgow jointly organises the “Smith Around the World Lecture Series” to mark Adam Smith’s Tercentenary

(March 24, 2023 – Hong Kong) HKU Business School is pleased to collaborate with the University of Glasgow, with the support from the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, to jointly organise the Smith Around the World Lecture Series (the Lecture), which was held successfully at the University of Hong Kong today. In celebration of Adam Smith’s tercentenary, the Lecture was titled “Triumph of the Market: What China’s past and present tell us”, covering the relationship between the rise to prominence of the southern coastal regions in China and the Smithian growth drivers. The Lecture brought together over a hundred of participants, including researchers, students, professionals, and business leaders across Hong Kong.

Professor Richard Wong, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The University of Hong Kong, Chair of Economics & Philip Wong Kennedy Wong Professor in Political Economy, and Director of Hong Kong Institute of Economics and Business Strategy, delivered the welcoming remarks and said, ‘We are delighted to be the partner of the University of Glasgow in organising the Smith Around the World Lecture Series. This collaboration represents an important milestone in knowledge exchange between two prestigious universities. Adam Smith has brought significant influence on global economic development, and we hope that the Lecture Series could create a timely opportunity to renew the global interest in Adam Smith and bring his ideas and legacy into contemporary debates around the world.’

Professor Zhiwu Chen, Chair and Cheng Yu-Tung Professor in Finance, HKU Business School and Director, Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Science, the keynote speaker of the Lecture, said, ‘Adam Smith would be amazed to see what China’s southern coastal regions – especially Hong Kong, Shenzhen and the larger Pearl River Delta – have become over the past one and a half centuries, showcasing the power of Smithian growth drivers, as these places did not differ much from other Chinese villages and towns back in 1776 when he published the timeless classic, an Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Uncompromised freedom to exchange encourages the division of labour, which raises productivity and lifts wealth creation; and, as the extent of the market determines the extent of this division effect, globalisation deepens specialisation and lengthens the supply chain, pushing growth to unprecedented levels. It is the Smithian growth experience that gave the South its distinctive pro-business culture, as opposed to North China’s pro-power culture.’

Following the interesting lecture by Professor Chen, Professor Richard Wong and Professor Xiaodong Zhu, Area Head of Economics, HKU Business School joined the panel to further discuss Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments. The exciting sharing of the panel attracted active audience participation.

The Smith Around the World lecture series is led by the University of Glasgow. Places of learning across the globe will undertake their own events to mark the 300th anniversary of the famous Scot’s birth over the course of 2023.

Enclosed please find photographs of today’s lecture:
(1st to 8th from left) Dr Xiang Li, Professor Scott Spurlock, Professor Zhiwu Chen, Professor Sara Carter, Professor Richard Wong, Professor Kostas Kontis, Professor Xiaodong Zhu and Professor John Finch attend the Smith Around the World Lecture Series.


Professor Richard Wong, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The University of Hong Kong, Chair of Economics & Philip Wong Kennedy Wong Professor in Political Economy, and Director of Hong Kong Institute of Economics and Business Strategy, delivers the welcoming remarks.


Keynote speaker Professor Zhiwu Chen, Chair and Cheng Yu-Tung Professor in Finance, HKU Business School and Director, Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Science, – presents a Smithian perspective on Chinese civilisation and development : North vs South China at the Smith Around the World Lecture Series.


(2nd to 3rd from left) Professor Richard Wong and Professor Zhiwu Chen exchange their views. The discussion is moderated by Professor Xiaodong Zhu, Area Head of Economics, HKU Business School (1st from left).


The Smith Around the World Lecture Series, presented by HKU Business School and University of Glasgow, concludes successfully today.

Hi-res photos are available here.

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