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
Aging Population Leads to Higher Saving Rates, China’s Economy Sees Potential Growth

China has achieved an annual GDP growth rate of over 8% for the past 45 years. It boasts an enormous domestic market, yet consumption accounts for only 39% of its GDP, one of the lowest ratios in the world nowadays. Can China maintain a growth rate of 6% or 7%? Prof. Heiwai Tang, Associate Dean of HKU Business School and Director of Asia Global Institute, believes China has the potential for economic growth, but it has now become very difficult due to concerns about aging populations and the desire to live to an advanced age, leading to high saving rates.

Non-Chinese Citizens in HK Can Apply for Mainland Travel Card


Hong Kong’s Next Stop – Multinational Supply Chain Management Centre


Hong Kong’s Next Stop – Multinational Supply Chain Management Centre

The HKSAR government is committed to developing the city into a multinational supply chain management centre to become a “super-connector”, bridging the Mainland enterprises and international market. Compared to other port cities in Asia, Hong Kong has significant competitive edges in the following three aspects:

港競爭力重上第五 星稱冠續拋離 經濟營商基建改善 政府效率稍降




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.