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Red capital in Hong Kong

Heidi Wang-Kaeding (Department of Political Science, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)
Malte Philipp Kaeding (Department of Politics, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)

Asian Education and Development Studies

ISSN: 2046-3162

Article publication date: 6 February 2019

Issue publication date: 28 March 2019




The purpose of this paper is threefold: first, to recount the scale, composition and agents of red capital in Hong Kong; second, to conceptualise the peculiarity of red capital; and third, to explore the impact of red capital on the political and economic institutional setup in Hong Kong.


The paper consults the comparative capitalism literature to conceptualise the phenomenon of red capital. The paper gathers data from Hong Kong Stock Exchange and indices to provide an overview of red capital. Furthermore, the case study of 2016 Legislative Election is deployed to investigate the mechanisms of red capital’s influence. The paper concludes with a summary of how red capital may challenge the validity of the “One Country, Two Systems” framework.


This paper argues that red capital replicates China’s state–capital nexus in Hong Kong and morphs the game of competition in favour of Chinese nationally controlled companies. In tandem with the emerging visibility of the party–state in Hong Kong’s economic sphere, the authors observe attempts of Chinese economic actors to compromise democratic institutions, deemed obstacles to state control.


This paper is the first attempt to systematically embed the discussion of red capital into comparative capitalism literature. This study provides conceptual tools to examine why red capital could pose a threat to liberal societies such as Hong Kong. Through this paper, we introduce a novel research agenda to scrutinise capital from authoritarian states and investigate how the capital is changing the political infrastructure shaped by liberal principles and values.



Wang-Kaeding, H. and Kaeding, M.P. (2019), "Red capital in Hong Kong", Asian Education and Development Studies, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 149-160.



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