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Hong Kong Exchange Strengthens China Ties

HKEx taps JPMorgan Chase’s Charles Li Xiaojia as its new CEO.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing is strengthening its ties to Beijing by tapping JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s point man in China as its new CEO. The appointment of Charles Li Xiaojia , who starts in October, marks the first time the exchange will have a CEO who was born on the mainland. He replaces Paul Chow Man-yiu, a Hong Kong native who strengthened HKEx’s position as a global financial hub, with the exchange consistently ranked in the top three globally for initial public offerings for the past three years.

From January to mid-June of this year, HKEx listed eight IPOs — raising $1.6 billion, second only to the New York Stock Exchange’s volume, according to research firm Dealogic. Beijing-born Li, 48, earned a doctorate of jurisprudence at Columbia University and then worked as a lawyer on Wall Street in the 1990s. Li became president of Merrill Lynch in China before taking over as chairman of JPMorgan in China in 2003. He’s reputed to have strong ties to senior officials, especially those at the China Securities Regulatory Commission. "Li built up significant relationships in the Chinese government over the years," notes Albert Louie, a risk management consultant in Beijing.

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