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Will China’s Largest Export Become Data?


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Filmed on February 20, 2021.

Everyone agrees that data is the oil of the 21st century. But how to invest? Charles Li, recently retired chief executive of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) and the creator of the brilliant but very complex Hong Kong – Shanghai Stock Connect, and later the Hong Kong Shenzhen Stock Connect, explains the investment opportunities in this sector. Due to its population and less stringent views on privacy, China could well become the world’s largest exporter of data—health data and financial data among others. Li also discusses why Hong Kong is crucial to China and why it will continue to prosper. Li also explains the magnitude and speed of the digitalization of the Chinese economy and the investment implications. Finally, he talks about his latest, incredibly innovative project in China—to provide financing for small and medium-sized enterprises, which have been starved of capital for years. His vehicle is what he calls revenue participation swaps, where the lender participates directly in the revenues of the business. Li was born in China, went to journalism school at the University of Alabama, and obtained a doctorate at Columbia Law School, later becoming a Trustee of Columbia University. Before HKEX, Li worked at Davis Polk & Wardwell and Brown & Wood, and he was Chairman of JP Morgan China.

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