Overview of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKG)

Overview of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKG)

4 Min.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKG) is a key part of the HKEX Group. It raises capital for Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese issuers and is one of the world's largest securities markets by market capitalization. HKG has over 2,500 listed firms with a total market capitalization of HK$45.5 trillion as of November 2020. Its growth depends on Mainland Chinese companies' expansion on its platform, making it a vital player in the global financial landscape.


The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has a rich history that can be traced back to the inception of China's first formal securities market, known as the Association of Stockbrokers in Hong Kong, in 1891. This marked the initial step toward what would eventually become one of the world's most prominent stock exchanges. Over the years, the exchange underwent significant developments, including establishing a second market in 1921.

In a crucial merger in 1947, the two existing markets amalgamated to form the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in its current form. This consolidation marked a turning point in the exchange's history and paved the way for its future growth and success.

Modernization and Expansion

The HKG has continuously adapted to the changing financial landscape. In 1993, it took a momentous step by introducing automated ordering systems, streamlining trading processes, and enhancing efficiency. Two years later, in 1995, the exchange further expanded its offerings by introducing stock option trading, providing investors with additional investment avenues.

However, one of the most significant milestones in its history occurred in 2000 when the Hong Kong Stock Exchange merged with the Hong Kong Futures Exchange and the Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company. This transformative merger created Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd., a publicly traded entity, further solidifying its position as a global financial hub.

HKG in the Digital Age

As technology continued to shape the financial industry, the HKG recognized the importance of electronic trading. In 2017, it made a momentous decision to close down its physical trading floor, reflecting the dominance of electronic trading systems. This shift marked the culmination of a long journey toward embracing technology, enhancing efficiency, and adapting to the evolving needs of market participants.

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The Hong Kong Stock Exchange stands as one of Asia's largest markets, boasting a staggering number of over 2,500 listed companies. This remarkable growth is especially evident when compared to 2008 when it had only 1,200 listed companies. The aggregate market capitalization of these listed entities reached an impressive HK$45.5 trillion in November 2020.

A significant driver of this expansion has been the influx of Mainland Chinese companies, commonly referred to as "H-shares," onto the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. This trend closely mirrors the extraordinary economic ascent of Mainland China. To ensure the integrity and quality of the exchange, the HKG implemented measures in 2017, raising the minimum market capitalization for listings to HK$500 million and the minimum value of public float to HK$125 million. These changes aimed to bolster trading liquidity and enhance the overall quality of listed issuers.

Major HKG Companies

The composition of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is diverse, encompassing various industries and sectors. However, several top companies dominate the market capitalization rankings. Notably, many of these are prominent Mainland Chinese financial institutions, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of China, and Ping An Insurance.

Yet, as of November 2020, the top position on the market capitalization leaderboard was held by Tencent Holdings, a Chinese internet conglomerate. Tencent's prominence underscores the dynamic and ever-changing nature of the exchange, with technology companies playing an increasingly vital role in its landscape.


The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has a rich history and is now one of the largest securities markets globally. Its remarkable growth can be attributed to its ability to adapt, embrace technology, and attract Mainland Chinese companies. Today, the HKG provides a platform for a diverse range of companies to access capital and investors to participate in one of Asia's most vibrant markets. As it moves into the digital age, the exchange's influence and significance are likely to continue expanding, making it a key player in finance.

Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKG)
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