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The Vibrant Journey of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX)

A historic chapter in the global financial industry was penned in Hong Kong in 1891, when the city’s first formal stock market, the Association of Stockbrokers in Hong Kong, was established. Over 130 years later, this humble institution has evolved into the formidable Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), now the third-largest stock exchange in the world.

Following its inception, the Association merged with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1914, forming the Hong Kong Stockbrokers’ Association. Despite experiencing significant setbacks due to World War II, the exchange promptly revived its operations post-war and grew steadily.

In 1947, the first foreign listing came aboard, encouraging further international participation. But it was the 1960s and 1970s that witnessed unprecedented growth in the market, leading to the creation of four distinct exchanges: the Far East Exchange, the Kam Ngan Stock Exchange, the Kowloon Stock Exchange, and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Recognising the inefficiencies of four separate exchanges, the Hong Kong Government initiated the unification of these entities in 1986, thus establishing the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX). This move proved to be a turning point, enabling more streamlined operations and greater efficiency.

The 1993 introduction of the Automatic Order Matching and Execution System (AMS) modernised the Exchange and boosted its credibility and efficiency. HKEX began embracing technology, making the exchange more appealing to global investors.

HKEX’s global standing was further solidified in 1999 when it became a publicly-traded entity, and in 2000, when it hosted its first Mainland China company listing. Since then, many large Chinese companies have listed on HKEX, transforming it into a key bridge between China’s economy and the global financial markets.

In the early 21st century, HKEX began a series of strategic acquisitions and partnerships, including the London Metal Exchange in 2012, to expand its portfolio and reinforce its position as a global player.

Today, HKEX remains one of the most vital and influential financial hubs in the world. It continues to modernise its trading systems and diversify its product offerings to attract global investors and listings. This resilient growth and innovation narrative of HKEX is testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of Hong Kong and its central role in the global economic landscape.