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SHINEWING Hong Kong's Douglas Kwan joins the panel at HKB Technology Excellence Awards

Enhancing corporate governance and risk management systems leads to profits and sustainability, he says.

When the Y2K myth was busted, Douglas Kwan was just starting out and gaining experience in assurance and advisory services, that was 20 years ago. He joined SHINEWING Hong Kong in 2009, where he engaged in numerous IPO projects with more than 10 successful cases.

Douglas specialises in listed companies and IPO services. He has extensive experience in audits of listed companies, including in technology, manufacturing, H-share companies, construction, utilities, mining, mobile phone retailers, etc.

Surviving and thriving in Hong Kong, he says, requires a certain level of financial literacy. “Financial literacy is key to the healthy development of a capital market and developing these skills and knowledge is important for one to cope with financial risks.”

With the new wealth management connect scheme and the development of the Greater Bay Area, Douglas and SHINEWING foresee new business opportunities for the financial industry, strengthening Hong Kong’s position as the global hub for offshore RMB business and the intermediary for capital flowing into and out of the Mainland.

In an interview prior to the HKB Technology Excellence Awards, Douglas gives his insights on professional commitment, Hong Kong’s crucial role in the GBA and how businesses will be defined beyond financial performance.

Can you share with us your work experience and backstory that contributed to your professional career?

I’ve been working in the industry for around 20 years by far. What I believe in paving a way for a professional career is that one has to be truly committed and like the work you are doing, so you would become more motivated to see things through to the end. I am also a keen athlete, playing sports builds a physical foundation for me to commit to my work and go through difficult times mentally and physically. Being an accountant is rewarding, as it has broadened my horizons and enabled me to meet people from diverse companies in various industries at different places around the world. Such has continued to fuel my enthusiasm in devoting to my career.

I have also learned to have a forward-looking mind and be willing to learn new things, to cope with the rapidly changing environment.

HKSTP announced that 108 startups just graduated their incubation programmes. What’s your view on Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem? Which new products or services do you think would thrive post-crisis, especially with 5G on the table?

Startup ecosystems are popping up around the world. With various kinds of comparative advantages, e.g., sound legal system, open economy, low taxation system, Hong Kong becomes one of the most desirable places for startup business.

With incredible growth, Hong Kong was listed as the top five fastest growing startup ecosystems and one of the world’s top 25 startup hubs. Hong Kong’s startup hub extends to a wide variety of industries especially in new economy and IT sector. A lot of new products and services are coming from these industries such as fintech, e-commerce and supply chain management.

HKMA and others recently floated a wealth management connect scheme to attract cross-border investments. What roles does the Greater Bay Area play in Hong Kong’s position as a financial and innovation hub?

Acting as an international finance and trade center, Hong Kong plays a crucial role in the Greater Bay Area. The scheme strengthens Hong Kong’s position as the global hub for offshore RMB business and the intermediary for capital flowing into and out of the Mainland.

The scheme has been described as a new milestone in the mutual access of financial markets between the Mainland and Hong Kong as it is a major policy breakthrough for the development of the Greater Bay Area. We foresee new business opportunities for the financial industry would thrive.

Hong Kong has one of the most financially literate markets in the globe, says IFEC, but how is the country coping and which industries are staying resilient in these trying times?

Financial literacy is a key to the healthy development of a capital market and developing financial literacy skills and knowledge is important for one to cope with financial risks. To survive and to thrive in Hong Kong, it inevitably requires a certain level of financial literacy.

There are a number of segments thriving during this pandemic era, to name a few, collaboration technologies, healthcare and pharmacy, remote learning, etc. The way of people working and playing has changed, and we see these industries would benefit irreversibly even when the pandemic ends.

Aside from doubling down on tech and digital innovations, what do firms need to consider to become more profitable and sustainable in the future?

The business landscape has changed—financial analysis is not the only parameter to evaluate the performance of a firm. More stakeholders are now increasingly putting the focus on corporate disclosures regarding other social issues. As such, firms shall build Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles in their strategy planning, which is perceived to bring positive relations between sustainable practices, share prices, and business performance. To be more profitable and sustainable, firms should also enhance their corporate governance standards and risk management systems.  

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