Securities trading in Hong Kong has an exotic history with taipan-era reports dating back to the mid-19th century. The first formal market, the Association of Stockbrokers in Hong Kong, was not established until 1891. It was renamed the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1914.
A second exchange, the Hong Kong Stockbrokers' Association, was incorporated in 1921. The two exchanges merged to form the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1947 and re-established the stock market after the Second World War.
Rapid growth led to the establishment of three other exchanges
- Far East Exchange, 1969
- Kam Ngan Stock Exchange, 1971
- Kowloon Stock Exchange, 1972
Pressure to unify
Pressure to strengthen market regulation and to unify the four exchanges led to the incorporation of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK) in 1980.
The four exchanges ceased business on 27 March 1986. The new exchange commenced trading through a computer-assisted system on 2 April 1986. By the time of the completion of the merger with HKFE in March 2000, the unified exchange had 570 participants.
In his 1999 Budget speech, Hong Kong's then financial secretary announced comprehensive market reform of the stock and futures markets. The reforms were designed to increase competitiveness and meet the challenges of an increasingly globalised market.
Single holding company
The SEHK and Hong Kong Futures Exchange (HKFE) demutualised and merged with Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company (HKSCC) under a single holding company, HKEX, in March 2000.
In December 2012, HKEX acquired the London Metal Exchange, the world’s premier metal exchange since its own founding in 1877.
HKEX today confidently describes itself as a world-leading capital raising venue for Hong Kong, mainland Chinese and international issuers. It also acts as the frontline regulator of companies listed in Hong Kong.
Address: 12/F, One International Finance Centre, 1 Harbour View Street, Central, Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 2522 1122
Chief Executive Officer: Charles Li Xiaojia
Chairman: Chung Kong Chow
Best known indices
- Hang Seng Index
- HSI Finance, HSI Utilities
- HSI Properties
- HSI Commerce & Industry
- Hang Seng China Enterprises Index
- Hang Seng China-Affiliated Corporations Index
- S&P/HKEX LargeCap Index
- S&P/HKEX GEM Index
Opening hours: 9.30am - 12 noon; 12 noon - 1pm; 1pm - 4pm
Market capitalisation: (HK$m): 24,761,306.37
Number of companies listed: 1,973
Biggest companies listed as of end 2016: Tencent Holdings Ltd, China Mobile Ltd, China Construction Bank Corporation - H shares, HSBC Holdings plc, AIA Group Ltd.
Biggest share price increases in 2016: Armada Holdings (+1,167.05%), Gold-Fin Holding (+590.76), Yat Sing Holding (+395%), Hanbo Ent Holdings (+390.63%), U Banquet GP (+317.39).
Biggest share price falls in 2016: Qianhai Health (-94.82%), Tack Fiori (-92.30%), Tech Pro (-89.60%), Chinlink Intl (-89.04%), C Zenith Chem (-88.78%).
Serious fun fact: The Hong Kong Commodity Exchange (the predecessor of Hong Kong Futures Exchange Limited) was established in 1976. The main products traded on it were cotton futures, sugar futures, soybean futures and gold futures.
1891 The Association of Stockbrokers in Hong Kong, the first formal stock exchange in Hong Kong, was formed.
1914 The name of the Association of Stockbrokers in Hong Kong was changed to The Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
1921 A second stock exchange, The Hong Kong Stockbrokers’ Association, was incorporated.
1947 The Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stockbrokers’ Association merged to form a joint exchange under the name of The Hong Kong Stock Exchange Ltd.
1969 The Far East Exchange Ltd commenced business on 17 December.
1971 The Kam Ngan Stock Exchange Ltd commenced business on 15 March.
1972 The Kowloon Stock Exchange Ltd commenced business on 5 January.
1973 The Far East Exchange, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Kam Ngan Stock Exchange and the Kowloon Stock Exchange, agree to standardise their trading sessions with effect from 8 January.
- Federation of Share Registrars established
- Hong Kong Federation of Stock Exchange established
- Stock Exchange Compensation Fund established
1976 Hong Kong Commodity Exchange Limited (HKCE) incorporated.
- Considerable progress made towards the formation of a unified stock exchange in Hong Kong in place of the existing four. Working party on unification formed
- HKCE commenced the trading of its first commodity product: cotton futures
- HKCE commenced trading of sugar futures
- Insider Dealing Tribunal set up
1980 Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK) incorporated.
1981 HKCE commenced trading of gold futures.
1985 HKCE renamed the Hong Kong Futures Exchange Limited (HKFE).
- The Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Far East Exchange, the Kam Ngan Stock Exchange and the Kowloon Stock Exchange ceased trading after the close of business on 27 March
- SEHK commenced trading on 2 April
- HKFE commenced the trading of its first financial product — Hang Seng Index (HSI) Futures
- SEHK became a full member of the Federation Internationale des Bourses de Valeurs on 22 September
- Grand opening of the SEHK took place on 6 October
- Clearing functions for HKFE transferred from Hong Kong Futures Guarantee Corporation Limited and International Commodities Clearing House (Hong Kong) Limited to the newly established futures clearing company, the HKFE Clearing Corporation Limited (HKCC)
- New Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) formally established
1990 HKFE introduced its first interest rate futures based on the three-month Hong Kong Interbank Offered Rate (HIBOR).
- HKFE introduces its first options product, Hang Seng Index Options
- The China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Shanghai Securities Exchange, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, the SFC and the SEHK sign a Memorandum of Regulatory Co-operation in Beijing
1994 Jardine Matheson Holdings and Jardine Strategic Holdings announce decision to delist from Hong Kong.
2000 the SEHK, the HKFE and the HKSCC become wholly-owned subsidiaries of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX).
- Renovated trading hall opens for trading
- HKEX introduces Bank of China Ltd Futures and Options
- HKEX launched the HSI Volatility Index (VHSI) futures
- HKEX launched RMB currency futures, the first exchange-traded deliverable RMB futures in the world
- HKEX acquires London Metal Exchange
2013 Hong Kong Securities Clearing Co Ltd (HKSCC) admits China Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation Ltd as a Clearing Agency Participant to the Central Clearing and Settlement System.
2014 Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect formally launched.
2015 Mainland-Hong Kong Mutual Recognition of Funds officially launched.
2016 Shenzhen Connect launched.
Sources: HKEX Factbook 2016 and hkexgroup.com
- Animals to equity: stock market histories of the world
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Top ten stock exchanges of the world
- New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
- NASDAQ (originally the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation exchange)
- London Stock Exchange (LSE)
- Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE)
- Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE)
- Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK)
- Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE)
- Toronto Stock Exchange (TMX)
- Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FWB)