Most Powerful Women

Hong Kong: Not dead, and not standing still

November 12, 2013: 5:54 PM ET

Executive and politician Laura Cha explains how the financial center can keep growing.

131112175149-laura-cha-620xaFORTUNE -- Hong Kong needs to develop additional financial-services capabilities and areas of expertise if it wants to remain a top global player, Laura Cha, chairman of Hong Kong's Financial Services Development Council, told a group of leading businesswomen here.

"We cannot afford to stand still," Cha said at Fortune Most Powerful Women Asia, an inaugural gathering of mostly Asia-based powerful women in business, politics, education and the arts. "Because other people are already moving ahead."

As part of a wide-ranging conversation on everything from Chinese government reforms to Japan's Abenomics, Cha and interviewer Andy Serwer, managing editor of Fortune, joked about a 1995 Fortune article entitled "The Death of Hong Kong," which predicted the demise of its role as a financial and commercial hub.

MORE: Is China serious about reform?

Cha's non-governmental advisory group is pulling together recommendations for government leaders and regulators to consider as part of efforts to keep Hong Kong's financial sector vibrant. She said Hong Kong "may have neglected" the development of certain areas such as banking back office, settlement, and procurement. Cha said the advisory committee is encouraging the government to put resources into development of new growth areas.

More broadly Cha, who also serves as an independent director of HSBC (HBC) and Unliever (UL) declared herself "bullish on Asia," noting the rising middle class and the continued opportunities not only in China but also Indonesia and India, countries with "huge population growth, and good indications that their economies will go quite far."

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Stephanie Mehta
Stephanie Mehta
Deputy Managing Editor , Fortune

Stephanie N. Mehta is the deputy managing editor at Fortune, overseeing technology coverage for Fortune. She also is a co-chair of the annual Brainstorm Tech conference, an annual gathering of tech and media thinkers. Previously, Mehta spent seven years as a tech writer at Fortune covering the telecom and media industries. She also has worked for the Wall Street Journal and the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va.

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