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The Greater Bay Area is primed to be something special

Hedge fund Two Sigma's Asia boss lauds region's new talent hub

Kenny Lam, the Asia-Pacific CEO of hedge fund Two Sigma, is not one of the people who are bearish on Hong Kong.

Two Sigma has Asian offices in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. In a recent interview with China Fund News, Lam waxed lyrical about the potential of the China and Hong Kong markets. He was particularly enthusiastic about their nine city megalopolis, the Greater Bay Area, but Lam was equally bullish on Hong Kong itself.  

Lam predicts that the GBA (Greater Bay Area) will become "the world’s largest ecosystem of talent and technology integration." Thanks to the area's "population of about 70 million" spread out across 9 major cities that can "be reached within an hour and a half," he claims the talent "integration of this area has a good foundation."

With the area expected to take a leading global role by 2035, Lam says that the "planning makes investors feel like there is a steady stream of opportunities." He also predicts that GBA will be the "dynamic ecosystem’"needed to support a "stable market" 

This is not to say focus will be shifted entirely to the GBA. Comparing Hong Kong and Singapore, Lam says there are merits in each and that, "there is no need to always see the world in zero-sum thinking." He considers Singapore’s key merits to be its "family offices" and potential as a "regional wealth management centre."

In Lam's worldview, each Asian city has its own role. Lam sees Tokyo as a "financial center serving large enterprises" and praises Shanghai’s "active capital market, which provides a good financing platform for domestic enterprises." He said Two Sigma hopes to become more "localized" in Shanghai, and to cultivate local engineering and research talent there. 

Hong Kong's major function in the GBA is that it provides at platform for "Chinese enterprises to internationalize," says LAM. When the GBA is finished, Lam predicts that it will be Asia's centerpiece due to its enormity and the fact that "all Asian cities can be reached within four or five hours."

That completion date is of course a long way away. UBS isn't moving into its new GBA office until 2026. But Lam advocates patience. He says young people should bide their time, focus on self-understanding and self-improvement and find their own positions. In this way doors will open. And when they do, the GBA may be where it happens.  

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AUTHORAlex McMurray
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