Hong Kong Stock Exchange

The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong is a stock exchange based in Hong Kong. It is Asia's third-largest in terms of market capitalization behind the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Shanghai Stock Exchange, and the fourth single largest stock market in the world. As of 2018, it has 2,315 listed companies with a combined market capitalization of HK$29.9 trillion. It is reported as the fastest growing stock exchange in Asia.
The stock exchange is owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, a holding company that it also lists. The physical trading floor at Exchange Square was closed in October 2017.


The Hong Kong securities market can be traced back to 1866, but the stock market was formally set up in 1891, when the Association of Stockbrokers in Hong Kong was established. It was renamed The Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1914.
By 1972, Hong Kong had four stock exchanges in operation. There were subsequently calls for the formation of a unified stock exchange. The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited was incorporated in 1980 and trading on the exchange finally commenced on 2 April 1986. Since 1986, a number of major developments have taken place. The 1987 market crash revealed flaws in the market and led to calls for a complete reform of the Hong Kong securities industry. This led to significant regulatory changes and infrastructural developments. As a result, the Securities and Futures Commission was set up in 1989 as the single statutory securities market regulator.
The market infrastructure was much improved with the introduction by the exchange of the Central Clearing and Settlement System in June 1992 and the Automatic Order Matching and Execution System in November 1993. Since then, the framework of market rules and regulations, both exchange-administered or otherwise, have been undergoing continuing review and revision to meet changing market needs while ensuring effective market
The Exchange Listing Rules have been made more comprehensive, and other existing regulations have been improved or new regulations introduced to enhance market development and investor protection. Enhancements were also made to the system infrastructure, including the launch of off-floor trading terminals in brokers’ offices in January 1996. The third generation of the trading system, AMS/3, will be launched in 2000. It will provide enhanced functionality and a platform for a straight-through transaction process.
In respect of market and product development, there are the listing of the first derivative warrant in February 1988, the listing of the first China-incorporated enterprise in July 1993; and the introduction of regulated short selling in January 1994 and stock options in September 1995. Furthermore, the exchange introduced the Growth Enterprise Market in November 1999 to provide fund raising opportunities for growth companies of all sizes from all industries, and to promote the development of technology industries in the region.
According to the reform plan announced in March 1999, the Exchange, the Hong Kong Futures Exchange and their clearing houses merged into a new holding company, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited.

Brief chronology

source: HK Ex

Exchange history and predecessors

Trading hours

The trading day consists of:
The closing price is reported as the median of five price snapshots taken from 3:59 to 4:00 pm every 15 seconds. In May 2008, the exchange also implemented a closing auction session to run from 4:00 pm to 4:10 pm, with a similar pricing mechanism as the opening auction; however, this resulted in significant fluctuations in the closing prices of stocks and suspicions of market manipulation. Initially, the exchange proposed limiting price fluctuations in the auction sessions to 2%; in the end, they removed the closing session entirely in March 2009.
Up until 2011, trading hours comprised a pre-opening auction from 9:30 AM to 9:50 AM, followed by continuous trading from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM and 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM. The two-hour lunch break between the morning and afternoon sessions was the longest among the world's 20 major stock exchanges. A 2003 proposal to shorten the lunch break failed due to opposition from brokers. Another plan to shorten the lunch break to one hour was floated by the exchange in 2010; the morning session would then start earlier, run from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm, and the afternoon session from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, leaving the closing time the same as before. Justifications included bringing hours into line with China. Reactions from both brokers and the restaurant industry were mixed.
On 7 March 2011, the exchange extended its hours in the first of two phases. The morning session now ran from 9:30 am to 12:00 noon, followed by a ninety-minute lunch break, and an afternoon session from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm. Index futures and options now began trading at 9:15 am, thirty minutes earlier than before, and closed at the same time as before, 4:15 pm. On 5 March 2012, the lunch break was cut to sixty minutes, with the afternoon session running from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Electronic trading

The exchange first introduced a computer-assisted trading system on 2 April 1986. In 1993 the exchange launched the "Automatic Order Matching and Execution System", which was replaced by the third generation system in October 2000.

Regulatory role

, independent non-executive director of the Exchange since 2003, has been arguing for a super regulatory authority to assume that role as regulator, as there is inherent conflict between its commercial and regulatory roles. In the meantime, he argues for improved investor representation on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
In 2007, the uproar by smaller local stockbrokers over the decision by board of directors to cut minimum trading spreads for equities and warrants trading at between 25 HK cents and HK$2 caused the new board to vote to reverse the decision. The reforms were to be implemented in the first quarter, but was put back on the table following protests by brokers. Webb criticised the board for caving in to vested interests.

Trading characteristics

Source: HKEX, in billions of Hong Kong dollars, Data updated on 14 February 2018
  1. AIA: $6,764.32
  2. Tencent Holdings: $4,118.93
  3. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China: $2,877.98
  4. China Construction Bank: $2,167.39
  5. Bank of China: $1,803.12
  6. PetroChina: $1,715.53
  7. Agricultural Bank of China: $1,641.43
  8. HSBC Holdings: $1,629.79
  9. Ping An Insurance: $1,547.81
  10. China Mobile: $1,509.04
  11. China Merchants Bank: $991.75
  12. Bank of Communications: $985.55
  13. China Life Insurance Company: $844.57
  14. Postal Savings Bank of China: $676.41
  15. China National Offshore Oil Corporation: $492.91
  16. China Minsheng Bank: $420.11
  17. BOC Hong Kong : $412.34
  18. China Pacific Insurance Company: $404.37
  19. CK Hutchison Holdings: $377.47
  20. CITIC Bank International: $367.82