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The Hong Kong Stock Exchange: A Cry from the Wilderness

29 September 2006 - Features - Editor

You do not normally discuss them in stock market circles, except to shudder at the prospect of further escalation in the crude price! Tehran is no stock market ‘apple-of-the-eye,’ but that does not mean that it lacks business prospects or ability! Indeed, the halcyon days of the Shah of Iran saw rapid economic development, and the people of this region have conducted trade successfully all over the world for centuries.

The Hong Kong stock market is a different cup of tea! It boomed as a colony of the British, but transited to communist control from mainland China with scarcely a blimp. Unlike Iran, the loss of true democracy has not affected business in this commercial outpost of the Far East.

Perhaps this is why the Iranian government has chosen to make overtures to Hong Kong as it seeks to invest its oil revenues in to profitable stock market opportunities. Iran’s consul in Hong Kong wants to act as a fulcrum to boost business ties between the Chinese territory and his country far away in the Middle East. The move has created a bit of a ripple in the stock market environment, as Iran has not been given of late to make any commercial moves.

Most of Iran’s current trade links are through Dubai, and a number of countries add hefty margins to their prices for Tehran consignments, to account for intermediaries who come in to play through this route. Mainland China has remained a staunch supporter for Iran in its political forays, so Hong Kong may turn out to be a natural ally in business matters as well. Certainly, the canny Chinese can shave on costs of trade through Dubai.

Iran, shorn of its unfortunate international image, and the poor infrastructure, is a haven for tourism. Few other nations have the history and natural resources of Iran and the people are enchanting as well. This is why Hong Kong, which is a tourist magnet in its own right, sees the operation of tours for vacationers as a major business potential in Iran. Tourism has so many income and employment dimensions that the stock market world cannot fail to take delighted notice of the impending trade expansion between Tehran and Hong Kong.

 


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