Heiwai TANG
Prof. Heiwai TANG
Associate Dean (External Relations)
Victor and William Fung Professor in Economics
Director, Asia Global Institute
Director, APEC Study Center
Associate Director, Hong Kong Institute of Economics and Business Strategy

3917 0029
3917 4388

MB 335/ KK 920

Academic & Professional Qualification
  • PhD: MIT
  • Bachelor: UCLA

Heiwai Tang is Victor and William Fung Professor in Economics, Director of the Asia Global Institute and HKU APEC Study Center, as well as the Associate Director Institute of China Economy and the Hong Kong Institute of Economics and Business Strategy at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Prior to joining HKU, he was tenured Associate Professor of International Economics at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University. He is also affiliated with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (U.S.), the Center of Economic Studies and Ifo Institute (CESIfo, Germany), the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (Germany) and the Globalization and Economic Policy Center (U.K.) as a research fellow. He has been a consultant to the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the United Nations, and the Asian Development Bank; and held visiting positions at the IMF, Stanford, MIT, Harvard. He is currently an associate editor of the Journal of International Economics, the Journal of Comparative Economics and the China Economic Review. Since 2021, he has served on a number of public bodies, including the Currency Board Sub-Committee of the HKMA’s Exchange Fund Advisory Committee and the Minimum Wage Commission in Hong Kong.

Heiwai holds a Ph.D. in economics from MIT and a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from UCLA. His research interests span a wide range of theoretical and empirical topics in international trade, with a specific focus on production networks, global value chains, and China. His research has been published in leading journals in economics, including American Economic Review and Journal of International Economics. His research and opinions have been covered by BBC, Financial Times, New York Times, Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, South China Morning Post, and various think tanks such as the Brookings Institution and the Peterson Institute for International Economics.


Columbia-LBS-HKU EMBA: The New World Order

HKU-PKU DBA: Frontiers in Economics Research

Fudan-HKU IMBA: The New World Order

HKU: Undergraduate Common Core – China in the Global Economy; MBA – Global Economy; Master of Economics – Economic Policy

Research Interest

International Trade, Global Value Chains, Development Economics

Selected Publications
  • “Trade Networks and Firm Value: Evidence from the US-China Trade War,” Journal of International Economics, forthcoming. (with Yi Huang, Chen Lin, and Sibo Liu)
  • “Currency Carry Trade by Trucks: The Curious Case of China’s Massive Imports from Itself”, Review of Finance, 27(2), March 2023, pp. 469–493. (with Xuepeng Liu, Zhi Wang, and Shang-Jin Wei)
  • “Do Multinationals Transfer Culture? Evidence on Female Employment in China”, Journal of International Economics, 133, Nov 2021, 103518. (with Yifan Zhang)
  • “Domestic Segment of Global Value Chains in China under State Capitalism”, Journal of Comparative Economics, 48(4), Dec 2020, pp. 797-821. (with Fei Wang and Zhi Wang)
  • “Why is China Investing in Africa? Evidence from the Firm Level”, World Bank Economic Review, 32(3), Oct 2018, pp. 610-632. (with Wenjie Chen and David Dollar)
  • “Are Foreign Firms Favored in China? Firm-level Evidence on the Collection of Value-Added Tax”, Journal of International Business Policy, 1(2), Inaugural Issue, Jun 2018, pp. 71-91. (with Yasheng Huang)
  • “Domestic Value Added in Exports: Theory and Firm Evidence from China”, American Economic Review, 106(6), Jun 2016, pp. 1402-1436. (with Hiau Looi Kee)
  • “Learning to Export from Neighbors”, Journal of International Economics, 94(1), Sep 2014, pp. 67-84. (with Ana Fernandes)
  • “Factor Intensity, Product Switching, and Productivity: Evidence from Chinese Exporters”, Journal of International Economics, 92(2), Mar 2014, pp. 349-362. (with Yue Ma and Yifan Zhang)
  • “International Politics and Import Diversification”, Journal of Law and Economics, 56(4), Nov 2013, pp. 1091-1121. (with Sergey Mityakov and Kevin Tsui)
  • “Determinants of Vertical Integration in Export Processing: Theory and Evidence from China”, Journal of Development Economics, 99(2), Nov 2012, pp. 396-414. (with Ana Fernandes)
  • “Labor Market Institutions, Firm-specific Skills, and Trade Patterns”, Journal of International Economics, 87(2), Jul 2012, pp. 337-351.
Awards and Honours
  • APEC Study Center Financial Support from the HKSAR Government, PI, HKD 2,500,000, 2022-2027
  • HKU Knowledge Exchange Grant, PI, HKD 497,000, 2023
  • Hong Kong RGC Grant, Co-PI, HKD 418,975, 2022-2024
  • Committee of 100 Next Generation Leader, 2018
  • Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy Grant, Columbia University, Co-PI, USD 14,500.
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Insight Grant, Co-Investigator, CAD 78,736
  • Student-Elected Best Professor of the Master of International Econ and Finance Program, JHU SAIS, 2016-2017
  • Alcoa Foundation Grant, Co-PI, USD 500,000, 2016-2019
  • Hong Kong RGC Grant, Co-PI, HKD 364,378, 2017-2019
  • Outstanding Referee Journal of International Economics, 2014-2017.
  • Hong Kong RGC Grant, Co-PI, HKD 336,462, 2011-2013
  • The Nuffield Foundation Social Science Grant, SGS/36581, Co-PI, £12,000, 2009-2011
  • MIT Presidential Fellowship, 2002-2003
Service to the University/Community
  • Securities and Futures Appeals Tribunal of the HKSAR government, member, 2023 –
  • Panel of Arbitrators of the Labour Relations Ordinance, HKSAR, member, 2023 –
  • Insurance Authority in Hong Kong SAR, Member of the Industry Advisory Committee, 2022 –
  • Telecommunications Appeal Board of the HKSAR Government, Member, 2022 –
  • Currency Board Sub-Committee of the HKMA Exchange Fund Advisory Committee, Member, 2021-
  • Minimum Wage Commission in Hong Kong SAR, Member, 2021 –
  • Pacific Economic Review, Managing Editor, 2022 –
  • Journal of International Economics, Associate Editor, 2019 – 2022
  • China Economic Review, Associate Editor, 2018 –
  • Journal of Comparative Economics, Associate Editor, 2017 – 2023
  • China Economics Summer Institute, Academic Committee Member, 2017 –
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC), Consultant, 2017 –
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Consultant, 2016 – 2017
  • Asian Development Bank, Consultant, 2016 – 2017
  • IMF, Research Department, Visiting Scholar, 2015 – 2016
  • World Bank, Consultant, 2013 – 2017
Recent Publications
兩會前瞻|促一體化發展 粵港澳大灣區發展迎加速期

Over the past five years, the Greater Bay Area has demonstrated remarkable economic resilience, achieving steady growth despite the setback from pandemic and global uncertainties. The region's GDP has consistently expanded to over 13.5 trillion RMB, cementing its status among the top 10 economies worldwide. This GDP value places the Greater Bay Area on par with market hubs such as Canada and South Korea. Prof. Heiwai Tang, Associate Dean of HKU Business School and Director of Asia Global Institute, shared about the Greater Bay Area's development potential in an interview with Phoenix TV. While GDP has risen, collaboration among cities has not been as close as expected earlier due to the pandemic, slowing integration progress. However, Prof. Tang expressed confidence that by strengthening cross-border partnerships, leveraging cities’ unique capabilities, and creating synergies, the region can tap vast economies of scale and unlock ample opportunities. In terms of talent visa, Professor Tang emphasizes the importance of seamless connectivity between Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. He believes a cooperative environment that welcomes global talent will continuously invigorate the region with fresh perspectives and ideas, propelling the region’s development forward in a sustainable manner.

Hong Kong Businesses Take Matters into Their Own Hands as Subsidies Decline and Recovery Remains Gradual

After 3 years of the pandemic, Hong Kong's economy is still struggling to recover, despite supportive government measures. Professor Heiwai Tang, Associate Dean of HKU Business School and Director of Asia Global Institute, gave an interview to HKET iMoney and mentioned that over the past three years, Hong Kong has been lagging behind in terms of competitiveness and the quality of service industry. On the contrary, mainland China and neighbouring countries invested and improved on infrastructure quality and digital economy development. Furthermore, there is a decline in the quality of service in the retail and restaurant sectors, resulting in public dissatisfaction. Combined with cautious consumer spending due to the economic downturn, Hong Kong residents are more inclined to spend their money in neighbouring regions to seek better services and experiences. This preference for spending elsewhere further hampers the recovery process. Other interviewees believe, as the economy gradually recovers after the pandemic, businesses should consider adapting to market demands by adjusting their production and operational models, or even transforming their business strategies. Such proactive, solutions-oriented mindset will undoubtedly help mitigate risks and increase profitability. Additionally, the government should expedite the approval process for funding initiatives for SME, thus accelerating the process of productivity enhancement and the market explorations beyond Hong Kong.

Leveraging the Advantages of the Greater Bay Area to Achieve Economic Transformation

2024 marks the fifth anniversary of the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. However, given the weak consumption, the trend of "Going North", the sluggish performance of the stock and real estate markets and the geopolitical elements, Hong Kong's economy has been struggling. What could be the possible solutions?

Can the Greater Bay Area lure foreign investors? Beijing wants Hong Kong to draw international capital into region, but global firms still hazy about benefits

Feb 18 marks the 5th anniversary of China's ambitious plan to transform the Greater Bay Area into a leading tech hub by 2035. Yet, has the region made progress as intended? Is Hong Kong fulfilling its role in attracting foreign investors? Prof. Heiwai Tang, Associate Dean of HKU Business School and Director of Asia Global Institute, shared his insights with South China Morning Post SCMP and mentioned that global geopolitical tensions, especially during the US election years and Beijing's ambitious policies to restructure certain industries in recent years have created uncertainty for Hong Kong and China's economic growth. Though significant progress has been made in collaboration within the bay area, especially in green technology, finance, and overall innovation as emphasised by Financial Secretary Mr. Paul Chan Mo-po, other interviewees indicated that it takes time for Hong Kong to fully promote the favourable benefits of investing here, i.e. investors can enjoy the economic advantages of the bay area as a whole.

Redefining Hong Kong’s Role as a Super Connector through Headquarters Economy


Redefining Hong Kong’s Role as a Super Connector through Headquarters Economy




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