The UBS Experience in Hong Kong

Written by Philippe Muff

It was the last company visit of this year’s Insight China iteration. However, the information we received conveyed a tremendous amount of economic and developmental background knowledge to the members, mostly pertaining to the current topic “40 Years Opening and Reform”. After being cordially welcomed by Mr. Dominic Schnider, introductory words were exchanged and pastries consumed while we were waiting for his colleague, Mr. Philip Wyatt, Chief Economist.

Insight China at UBS in Hong Kong

After Mr. Wyatt had made his attendance and began his presentation, the members were shown a comprehensive timeline of China’s macro-economical development before continuing to the effects of the Reform and Opening-Up and concluding with the role of Hong Kong and Shenzhen in these developments. Consequently, Mr. Wyatt’s slides and speech were highly informative –  the statistics, charts and theories soon provided interesting material to discuss and analyze in the final Q&A session.

He talked about the successes and failures of the Chinese economic model, how it moved between ambiguity and order as well as its proneness to crass changes by the government. Moreover, Mr. Wyatt eloquently described this model as a “Stop and Go” approach, where the PRC often halted their policies upon reaching critical stages, only to optimize their current plans and reinitialize to prevent a imminent economic failure. Astonishingly, this agility and flexibility apparently allowed the country to flourish in the end.

Mr. Wyatt continued explaining how state-owned enterprises were regaining significance in the Chinese economy, how its growth model had become increasingly complex and also talked about the role of shadow banking and intellectual properties. Furthermore, the members were presented all facts and figures about the developments of the Greater Bay Area plan, and Shenzhen’s and Hong Kong’s pivotal role in it. Lastly, the Belt and Road Initiative was also a hot topic.

Everything was then discussed in the lively Q&A session, where the Insight China members brought up all kinds of subjects. Mr. Schnider and Mr. Wyatt kindly answered all of our inquiries, started surmising interesting theories, and even went on to debate each other as well as the delegation.

We are very appreciative of the openness expressed by UBS as well as the getting the chance to learn from such a high-profile organization. Thank you!

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