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Stock Exchange of Hong Kong
Logo of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, owner of SEHK
The now-defunct floor trading lobby in 2007
TypeStock exchange
LocationCentral District, Hong Kong
Founded3 February 1891; 130 years ago (1891-02-03) (as Association of Stockbrokers in Hong Kong)
21 February 1914; 107 years ago (1914-02-21) (as Hong Kong Stock Exchange)
OwnerHong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
Key people
CurrencyHong Kong dollar
No. of listings2,538 (2020)
Market capHK$47 trillion (2020)
Stock Exchange of Hong Kong
Traditional Chinese香港聯合交易所
Simplified Chinese香港联合交易所
Traditional Chinese聯交所
Simplified Chinese联交所

The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK, also known as Hong Kong Stock Exchange) is a stock exchange based in Hong Kong. It is the world's largest bourse[1] in terms of market capitalization, surpassing Chicago-based CME. As of the end of 2020, it has 2,538 listed companies with a combined market capitalization of HK$47 trillion.[2] It is reported as the fastest growing stock exchange in Asia.[3]

The stock exchange is owned (through its subsidiary Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited) by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX), a holding company that it also lists (SEHK388). The physical trading floor at Exchange Square was closed in October 2017.[4]


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.[5] It was renamed as The Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1914.

By 1972, Hong Kong had four stock exchanges in operation. There were subsequent 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 (SFC) was set up in 1989 as the single statutory securities market regulator.

The market infrastructure was much improved[how?] with the introduction by the exchange of the Central Clearing and Settlement System (CCASS) in June 1992 and the Automatic Order Matching and Execution System (AMS) 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 regulation.

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 is the listing of the first derivative warrant in February 1988, the listing of the first China-incorporated enterprise (H share) 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 (GEM) in November 1999 to provide fundraising 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 clearinghouses merged into a new holding company, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited.[6][citation needed]

Brief chronology

source: HK Ex[9]

Exchange history and predecessors

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Association of Stockbrokers in Hong Kong (Founded 1891)
(1914) Renamed to Hong Kong Stock Exchange
(1947) A merger is made after World War II with Hong Kong Stock Exchange retaining the name
Hong Kong Stockbrokers Association (Founded 1921)
Hong Kong Stockholders Association (Founded 1956) allow info sharing between HKSE and other exchanges
Far East Exchange Ltd (Founded 1969)
Kam Ngan Stock Exchange Ltd (Founded 1971)
Kowloon Stock Exchange Ltd (Founded 1972)
(1986) HKSE merges with other exchanges and retain the name but also presented as Stock Exchange of Hong Kong
(2000) Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing becomes the holding company for Hong Kong Stock Exchange
Hong Kong Futures Exchange Ltd (Founded 1976)
Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company Ltd (Founded 1989)

Trading hours

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev with exchange Chairman Ronald Arculli during a visit to Hong Kong on 17 April 2011.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev with exchange Chairman Ronald Arculli during a visit to Hong Kong on 17 April 2011.

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

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.[11]

Electronic trading

The exchange first introduced a computer-assisted trading system on 2 April 1986.[16] In 1993 the exchange launched the "Automatic Order Matching and Execution System" (AMS), which was replaced by the third generation system (AMS/3) in October 2000.[17]

Regulatory role

David Webb, 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 an 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.[18]

Trading characteristics

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Twenty largest stocks by market capitalisation

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 (Holdings): $412.34
  18. China Pacific Insurance Company: $404.37
  19. CK Hutchison Holdings: $377.47
  20. CITIC Bank International: $367.82

See also


  1. ^ "Hong Kong stock exchange operator world's largest after toppling Chicago's CME". South China Morning Post. 6 January 2021. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  2. ^ "HKEX Monthly Market Highlights". Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Top 10 Asian Stock Markets In 2017 - WEALTH". WEALTH. 29 December 2017.
  4. ^ "End of an era for HK trading floor". BBC News. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Hong Kong Securities Market" Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited [non-primary source needed]
  6. ^ "History of HKEX and its Market". HKEX Group. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Traders gather to mark end of floor stock trading in Hong Kong". South China Morning Post. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Trading Hall Renovation Moves Forward" (PDF). Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d Trading Hours,, 8 March 2011, retrieved 8 March 2011
  11. ^ a b HKEx Receives Approval to Extend its Trading Hours from 7 March,, 24 January 2011
  12. ^ Markets Make Smooth Transition to New Trading Hours (PDF), Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, 4 April 2011, retrieved 20 June 2011
  13. ^ Closing Price Calculation (PDF),, 23 March 2009, retrieved 5 June 2009
  14. ^ Ng, Katherine (13 March 2009), "HKEx scraps closing auction", Stand. (Hong Kong), archived from the original on 17 March 2009, retrieved 5 June 2009
  15. ^ Wan, Hanny (12 August 2010), "Hong Kong Brokers Balk at Prospect of Losing Their Long Lunch", Bloomberg News, retrieved 13 August 2010
  16. ^ History of HKEx and its markets, Hong Kong Stock Exchange, 31 October 2013, retrieved 7 January 2015
  17. ^ "HKEx Builds its Market Infrastructure with Competitive Technology" (PDF), Exchange Newsletter, Hong Kong Stock Exchange, October 2004, retrieved 7 January 2015
  18. ^ Cheung, Jackie (15 February 2007), "Plan for tighter spreads dropped", Stand. (Hong Kong), archived from the original on 13 October 2007, retrieved 19 March 2007

Coordinates: 22°17′03″N 114°09′28″E / 22.28414°N 114.15768°E / 22.28414; 114.15768