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Hong Kong’s bourse seeks to snap up the London Stock Exchange

RECENT MONTHS have been eventful for bosses in Hong Kong, including Charles Li, the head of the island’s stock exchange. Last month, just days after a huge deal in his industry was announced—an agreement by the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) to buy Refinitiv, a data provider, for $27bn—the Chinese People’s Liberation Army released a video of troops performing anti-riot drills, a scenario that Mr Li had warned Beijing against. The protests continue, but Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) is keeping calm and carrying on. On September 11th it made an audacious bid to scupper the Refinitiv-LSE deal and buy the British exchange for ?31.6bn ($39bn) itself.In normal times pundits might have hailed the proposal as visionary. Hong Kong is the world’s fourth-largest financial centre. Combined with London, it could rival New York. It is well positioned to benefit from the strength of Asian emerging markets. In its proposal HKEX dangled the prospect of Britain capturing growth as China’s currency, the yuan, internationalises—for example, with more Chinese firms listing in London.
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