HKU Business School Launches Inaugural Quarterly Forum on Chinese Economy Discusses Pressing Challenges Facing Chinese Economy in New Perspectives

HKU Business School’s Institute of China Economy organised the inaugural HKU Quarterly Forum on Chinese Economy on 28 January 2024. Professor Zhenhua Mao, Founder of ZhongChengXin (HK) Investment Services Limited, and Professor of Practice of HKU Business School presented the theme report titled “China Economy in 2024 – Recovery and Cyclical Bottom”, and discussed pressing challenges facing the Chinese economy with Professor Lin Chen, Associate Dean (Research and Knowledge Exchange) of HKU Business School and Professor Xiaodong Zhu, Chair of Economics, as well as other scholars and industry experts.

The Forum, collaborated with Wuhan University Hong Kong Alumni Association and held at HKU iCube, was attended by a diverse audience of business leaders, academics, alumni and students, receiving about two hundred attendees.

Professor Hongbin Cai, Dean and Chair of Economics of HKU Business School, said in his welcoming remarks, ‘HKU Business School’s Institute of China Economy hosts a series of “HKU Quarterly Forum on Chinese Economy.” The forum serves as a platform for renowned experts and scholars from government, industry, academia, and research sectors to convene and deliberate on tackling the diverse challenges confronted by China’s rapidly transforming and evolving economy. The discussions aim to explore strategies for achieving sustainable, high-quality, and innovation-driven growth in China’s economy.’

Professor Zhenhua Mao said in his keynote speech, ‘Over the past year, China has encountered various challenges, including a new geopolitical landscape, insufficient demand, and uncertain expectations. Despite these obstacles, China achieved an annual economic growth rate of 5.2%, reflecting a pattern of “weak recovery”. Looking ahead, I predict that China’s economic growth for this year will achieve around 4.8%. The key to revitalising the economy lies in the distribution of cash subsidies amounting to RMB $1 billion. By stimulating end-consumer consumption, we can establish a foundation for the chain price levels of “CPI-PPI-asset prices” and steer China’s economy away from deflation risks. In addition, the mainland government must maintain consistent policy guidance and harness the potential of the private sector.’

Professor Chen Lin, Associate Vice-president of HKU, Associate Dean (Research and Knowledge Exchange) and Chair of Finance, Stelux Professor in Finance of HKU Business School, said, ‘The decline in liquidity of the Hong Kong stock market is mainly reflected in the proportion of zero-trading stocks and the sensitivity of stock prices to trading volume (measured by the Amihud liquidity index), rather than the trading volume itself. Notably, the technology industry experiences the most significant fluctuations in sensitivity, largely influenced by geopolitical factors and potential investment restriction proposals. Compared to the United States, Hong Kong currently has a lower proportion of quantitative and algorithmic trading (10% vs 70%+). However, a redesign of the trading fee structure, potentially implementing monthly, yearly, or tiered pricing models, may be required to better accommodate the requirements of these types of funds.’

Professor Xiaodong Zhu shared his insights on productivity challenge face by China. He said, ‘The sustained expansion of China’s economy, reflected in its long-term potential growth as indicated by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), hinges upon the advancement of Total Factor Productivity (TFP). It is imperative to recognize that top-down policy-making approaches do not foster TFP growth effectively. Instead, the impetus for TFP growth lies in bottom-up policy reforms, which play a vital role in driving and propelling the nation’s productivity to new heights.’

The forum was followed by an inspiring and intriguing panel discussion, moderated by Professor Hongbin Cai. Panellists include Professor Shusong Ba, Part-time Professor of HKU Business School, Chief Economist of the China Banking Association (CBA) and Vice President of China Society of Macroeconomics; Mr. Guosheng Duan, President and CEO of Taikang Asset Management Co., Ltd.., Executive Vice President & Chief Investment Officer of Taikang Insurance Group and President of the Insurance Asset Management Association of China; Dr. Helen Qiao, Chief Economist for Greater China, Head of Asia Economics Research, Bank of America; Dr. Haixia Yuan, Deputy Director of the Research Institute of China Chengxin Credit Rating Group; and Mr. Zuotao Chen, Chairman of Top Resource Energy Co., Ltd., Chairman of Giantec Semiconductor Corporation and Council member of Wuhan University. Their insightful sharing and vigorous discussion stimulated and engaged the audience with innovative ideas.

The forum replay available here.

Photo Caption


Professor Hongbin Cai, Dean and Chair of Economics of HKU Business School delivers welcoming remarks.


Professor Zhenhua Mao, Founder of ZhongChengXin (HK) Investment Services Limited, and Professor of Practice of HKU Business School presents the theme report.


Professor Lin Chen, Associate Vice-president of HKU, Associate Dean (Research and Knowledge Exchange) and Chair of Finance, Stelux Professor in Finance of HKU Business School delivers a speech.


Professor Xiaodong Zhu, Area Head of Economics and Chair of Economics of HKU Business School delivers a speech.


(From left) Professor Hongbin Cai, Dean and Chair of Economics of HKU Business School; Haixia Yuan, Deputy Director of the Research Institute of China Chengxin Credit Rating Group; Dr. Helen Qiao, Chief Economist for Greater China, Head of Asia Economics Research, Bank of America; Professor Shusong Ba, Part-time Professor of HKU Business School, Chief Economist of the China Banking Association (CBA) and Vice President of China Society of Macroeconomics; Mr. Guosheng Duan, President and CEO of Taikang Asset Management Co., Ltd.., Executive Vice President & Chief Investment Officer of Taikang Insurance Group and President of the Insurance Asset Management Association of China; and Mr. Zuotao Chen, Chairman of Top Resource Energy Co., Ltd., Chairman of Giantec Semiconductor Corporation and Council member of Wuhan University, join the roundtable discussion.


The forum attracts a diverse audience of business leaders, academics, alumni and students.

Hi-res photos are available here.

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