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Brexit and Beyond: Prospects for China's Financial Centers under Global Uncertainty

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Shuai Eddie WEI.

This is an event organized by Cambridge Society for the Study of the Political Economy of China.

Brexit, the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, raises challenges to London’s long-term position as the leading global financial center. Some observers argue that Brexit will reshape the leadership and organizational management of finance among global centers. Typically, this view claims that London will be undermined because financial firms will shift to other European centers, especially Paris and Frankfurt, in order to maintain access to the European Union. Such a potential reshaping of global finance has implications for firms in China’s financial centers which have had long-standing ties to London’s financial community. Hong Kong as been the Asia-Pacific center of finance and trade since the nineteenth century and remains China’s window to global capital. In that position, Hong Kong’s financial community retains deep ties to London’s, and if Brexit undermines that, this means a reshaping of financial networks between Asia and Europe, as well as to North America (primarily the United States). This threat of change also impacts mainland China’s centers of Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen, because their ties to global finance are significantly mediated through Hong Kong’s financial community. I argue that, not only will London not lose its premier global position, but also that global financial firms in Hong Kong will continue their long-term organizational and management ties that bind mainland China’s centers and global financial centers outside Asia. China’s economic growth in the twenty-first century will secure the future of Hong Kong’s financial community as approaching more co-equal levels of global financial management with London’s and New York’s financial communities.

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