Heiwai TANG
Prof. Heiwai TANG
Economics
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
Biography

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.

Teaching

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
A Comprehensive Approach to Boost Hong Kong’s Economy

In a recent media interview, Prof. Heiwai Tang, Associate Dean of HKU Business School and Director of Asia Global Institute suggested three long-term directions to revitalize Hong Kong's economy: firstly, develop high value-added industries; secondly, enhance Hong Kong’s role as a bridge between mainland China and global markets; thirdly, optimize policies for nurturing and attracting talent.

US-China Trade Tensions Escalate During the US Presidential Election

Will the US's new tariff-hike severely affect China's economy? Prof. Heiwai Tang, Associate Dean of the HKU Business School and Director of the Asia Global Institute commented in a recent interview with South China Morning Post SCMP that the US administration's tough stance towards China is obviously a strategic move during the election year. “The significant increase in US tariffs on Chinese EVs is more symbolic than having any substantial impact on China’s EV industry,” Prof. Tang shared.

No quick fix for city’s aging workforce

Prof. Heiwai Tang, Associate Dean of the HKU Business School and Director of the Asia Global Institute, recently shared insights on this issue with China Daily. Drawing from behavioural economics, Prof. Tang highlighted how short-term factors like childcare access, living environments, and educational costs influence couples' decisions to raise children. He remarked, "With a better living environment, the fertility rate can also be boosted...When young couples feel those short-term issues can be resolved, they may decide to raise children."

Implications of Western New Industrial Policies for Hong Kong

In the past, Hong Kong and Western countries followed neoliberal economic policies. However, due to changes in the geopolitical and economic landscape, as well as frequent disruptions to supply chains, many governments have shifted their focus to economic security and have implemented industrial policies in recent years.

Implications of Western New Industrial Policies for Hong Kong

In the past, Hong Kong and Western countries followed neoliberal economic policies. However, due to changes in the geopolitical and economic landscape, as well as frequent disruptions to supply chains, many governments have shifted their focus to economic security and have implemented industrial policies in recent years.

Changing Consumption Habits and The Need for a Clearer Positioning of Structural Issues

Prof. Heiwai Tang, Associate Dean of HKU Business School and Director of Asia Global Institute, shared about the Hong Kong economic policies in an interview with EDigest. He pointed out that Hong Kong's economic "upstream" faces numerous issues, such as loans, rent, and raw material supply. These factors have kept the operating costs high for "downstream" businesses. Resolving these problems in a society that upholds small-government free-market principles is undoubtedly a tremendous challenge.

Money Talk – Your Money

Carolyn Wright speaks with Professor Heiwai Tang, Associate Dean at HKU Business School in part one of a two part discussion about their recent Green Paper on accelerating Hong Kong’s economic growth.

學者倡開徵消費稅1%至2%

本港稅基狹窄,較易受經濟周期性影響,有意見指港府應全面檢視稅務制度,擴闊稅基。港大經管學院副院長(對外事務)、馮國經馮國綸基金經濟學教授鄧希煒認為,當本港經濟環境改善,便應研究開徵消費稅,可考慮以1%至2%起步,相信市民有能力負擔,並探討是否針對部分消費項目及徵收的對象。

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.