Women on Boards

Hong Kong 2019

Having a gender diverse board is not about optics, but about solidifying your business. A board made up of different, even conflicting, perspectives and life experiences encourages a culture of questioning and robust discussion. 

 

Key Data (Hong Kong)

Percentage of Women on Hang Seng Index (HSI) Boards

Data valid as of 2 July 2019
Share
13.5 %
Women on HSI boards
Analysis
2 July 2019 Our Q3 analysis provides a glimmer of hope as we see the overall percentage of women on the boards of...
Analysis
Percentage of Women on Hang Seng Index (HSI) Boards

2 July 2019

Our Q3 analysis provides a glimmer of hope as we see the overall percentage of women on the boards of Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index companies creep up to 13.5% from 13.1% in April. When analysing the representation further however, we see that this marginal increase can be attributed to a decrease in the total number of directorships available on the HSI (14 – from 612 to 598). In actual numbers, female representation on the HSI increased by only one from 80 to 81 between Q2 and Q3.

While the Q3 update provides some positive news in the increase of our headline figure, the progress made has been minimal.  In fact, for the first half of this year, there have only been three women appointed to Hang Seng Index boards, while 42 men have been appointed in the same period.  This rate of female appointments is very low, and if it continues for the rest of this year, 2019 is at risk of equaling 2018, in which only six female directors were appointed all year. This stagnation is in sharp contrast to the global trend and puts Hong Kong even further behind other markets in the region. In addition to the markets covered by our regional snapshot, a recent ASEAN report shows that other Asian markets have overtaken Hong Kong in terms of women on boards, with Indonesia (14.9%), Thailand (20.4) and Vietnam (15.4%) all tracking higher.

We must reiterate our message that having a gender diverse board is not about optics, but about solidifying your business. A board made up of different, even conflicting, perspectives and life experiences encourages a culture of questioning and robust discussion. This will not only help to mitigate risks and strengthen governance but ensure a higher probability of business success, which is backed by a growing body of research. In these volatile and disruptive times, companies should demand a strong, diverse board that futureproofs their existence.

Key Data (Hong Kong)

Summary of Gender Diversity on HSI Boards

Data valid as of 2 July 2019
Share

Companies with at least one female director

38 (76 %)
41 (80.4 %)
39 (78.0 %)
34 (68.0 %)
  • Jun 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016

Companies with multiple female directors

21 (42 %)
24 (47.1 %)
20 (40.0 %)
19 (38.0 %)
  • Jun 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016

Companies with female executive directors

16 (32 %)
19 (37.3 %)
15 (30.0 %)
13 (26.0 %)
  • Jun 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016

Companies with female CEOs

1 (2 %)
1 (2.0 %)
1 (2.0 %)
2 (4.0 %)
  • Jun 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016

Companies with all-male boards

12 (24 %)
10 (19.6 %)
11 (22.0 %)
16 (32.0 %)
  • Jun 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
Analysis
2 July 2019 At the beginning of Q3, almost all of our diversity indicators paint a similar picture to previous...
Analysis
Summary of Gender Diversity on HSI Boards

2 July 2019

At the beginning of Q3, almost all of our diversity indicators paint a similar picture to previous analyses last quarter: companies with at least one female director and companies with one female director have remained stagnant at 38 (76.0%) and 21 (42.0%) respectively. Similarly, companies with a female CEO remain unchanged at one (Louisa Cheang, Hang Seng Bank), and companies with all-male boards have disappointingly remained at 12, the same as in Q2.  

The number of female executive directorships is the only diversity indicator that has moved – however unfortunately, this has seen a reduction from 17 to 15 between Q2 and Q3, dropping the percentage from 34.0% to 30.0%.

 

 

 

Key Data (Hong Kong)

Women on Boards League Table: HSI

Data valid as of 2 July 2019 | Currently 50 constituents on the HSI
Share

Most eventful

New HSI Constituent
Rank
30
( 15)
Sino Land Company Ltd
9.10%
30 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 15)
Sino Land Company Ltd
% Women
9.10%
Board Size
11
No. of Women
1
Stock Code
83
Chairperson
Ng, Robert Chee Siong
Female Directors
Lee, Velencia
45
( 18)
Mengniu Dairy Company Ltd
0.00%
45 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 18)
Mengniu Dairy Company Ltd
% Women
0.00%
Board Size
10
No. of Women
0
Stock Code
2319
Chairperson
Chen, Lang
Female Directors

Top 10

Rank
Company
New
Percent
1
( 1)
Hang Seng Bank Ltd
38.50%
1 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 1)
Hang Seng Bank Ltd
% Women
38.50%
Board Size
13
No. of Women
5
Stock Code
11
Chairperson
Ch'ien, Raymond Kuo Fung
Female Directors
Cheang, Louisa Wai Wan
Chiang, Lai Yuen
Gan, Kathleen Chieh Huey
Kwan, Margaret Wing Han
Lee, Irene Yun Lien
2
( 1)
Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd
36.40%
2 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 1)
Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd
% Women
36.40%
Board Size
11
No. of Women
4
Stock Code
1177
Chairperson
Tse, Theresa Y Y
Female Directors
Cheng, Cheung Ling
Li, Mingqin
Lu, Hong
Tse, Theresa Y Y
3
( 1)
HSBC Holdings plc
35.70%
3 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 1)
HSBC Holdings plc
% Women
35.70%
Board Size
14
No. of Women
5
Stock Code
5
Chairperson
Tucker, Mark Edward
Female Directors
Casey, Kathleen Louise
Cha Shih, Laura May Lung
Lee, Irene Yun Lien
Miller, Heidi
van der Meer Mohr, Pauline
4
( 2)
Link Real Estate Investment Trust
33.33%
4 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 2)
Link Real Estate Investment Trust
% Women
33.33%
Board Size
12
No. of Women
4
Stock Code
823
Chairperson
Allen, Nicholas
Female Directors
Tan, May Siew Boi
Tan, Poh Lee
Tse, Nancy Sau Ling
Young, Elaine Carole
5
(--)
China Shenhua Energy Company Ltd
30.00%
5 (--)
China Shenhua Energy Company Ltd
% Women
30.00%
Board Size
10
No. of Women
3
Stock Code
1088
Chairperson
Wang, Xiangxi
Female Directors
Jiang, Bo
Tam, Maria Wai Chu
Zhong, Christina Yingjie
6
( 4)
Bank of China Ltd
25.00%
6 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 4)
Bank of China Ltd
% Women
25.00%
Board Size
12
No. of Women
3
Stock Code
3988
Chairperson
Liu, Liange (President)
Female Directors
Chao, Angela
Wang, Xiaoya
Xiao, Lihong
6
(--)
MTR Corporation Ltd
25.00%
6 (--)
MTR Corporation Ltd
% Women
25.00%
Board Size
20
No. of Women
5
Stock Code
66
Chairperson
Auyeung, Rex Pak Kuen
Female Directors
Chan, Mable
Chan Wong, Pamela Shui
Chan Yuen, Dorothy Tak Fai
Lee, Rose Wai Mun
Li Li, Lucia Ka Lai
8
( 1)
CK Infrastructure Holdings LTD (BM)
23.50%
8 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 1)
CK Infrastructure Holdings LTD (BM)
% Women
23.50%
Board Size
17
No. of Women
4
Stock Code
1038
Chairperson
Li, Victor Tzar Kuoi
Female Directors
Chen, Tsien Hua
Kwok Lee, Eva
Lee Wong, Angelina Pui Ling
Sng, Sow Mei
9
( 1)
CK Asset Holdings Ltd (KY)
23.10%
9 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 1)
CK Asset Holdings Ltd (KY)
% Women
23.10%
Board Size
13
No. of Women
3
Stock Code
1113
Chairperson
Li, Victor Tzar Kuoi
Female Directors
Hung, Katherine Siu Lin
Pau, Ezra Yee Wan
Woo, Grace Chia Ching
9
( 1)
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd
23.10%
9 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 1)
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd
% Women
23.10%
Board Size
13
No. of Women
3
Stock Code
388
Chairperson
Cha Shih, Laura May Lung
Female Directors
Cha Shih, Laura May Lung
Fung, Anita Yuen Mei
Ma, Mary Xuezheng
Analysis
2 July 2019 The companies comprising the top five of our Women on Boards League Table remain unchanged between Q2 and...
Analysis
Women on Boards League Table: HSI

2 July 2019

The companies comprising the top five of our Women on Boards League Table remain unchanged between Q2 and Q3 however, the top three shifted and we find the number one position held by Hang Seng Bank, with 38.5% female representation at the board level. Positions two and three are held by Sino Biopharmaceutical and HSBC, with 36.4% and 35.7% of their boards made up of women.

Over the last three months, Sino Land made the most marked increase in the League Table, rising 15 places to 30th. Notable in this move was the appointment to its board of its Finance Director Velencia Lee, who is a first-time board director of a listed company.  

Mengniu Dairy Company dropped 18 places over the last quarter to 45th due to the loss of a female board member, which put them into the ‘all-male board’ category.

Key Data (Hong Kong)

All-Male Boards

Data valid as of 2 July 2019
Share
12 Companies with all-male boards
7 Companies which have never had female directors

Companies which have never had female directors

Company
Industry
The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Ltd
Utilities
WH Group Ltd (KY)
Commerce & Industry
Techtronic Industries Company Ltd
Commerce & Industry
Tencent Holdings Ltd 騰訊控股有限公司
Commerce & Industry
CNOOC Ltd
Commerce & Industry
China Resources Land Ltd
Properties
Sunny Optical Technology (Group) Company Ltd
Commerce & Industry
Analysis
2 July 2019 The metrics on all-male boards remain the same for our Q3 update. Twelve companies (26.0%) of those...
Analysis
All-Male Boards

2 July 2019

The metrics on all-male boards remain the same for our Q3 update. Twelve companies (26.0%) of those listed on the Hang Seng Index do not have any women on their boards, with seven of those (14.0%) having never had female representation on their board since becoming listed.

Encouragingly, Sino Land moved out of the all-male category this quarter, however the loss of a female board member at Mengniu Dairy Company kept the net number of all-male boards at twelve.

From January 2018 to January 2019, the number of all-male boards was at an all-time low of 10, so this year’s increased level at 12 is disappointing and demonstrates that the distinction of having an all-male board is not enough to motivate these companies to build a gender-diverse board. 

Key Data (Hong Kong)

New Appointments by Gender

Data valid as of 2 July 2019
Share
3
6.7%
Women
42
93.3%
Men
Out of a total of45appointments
Analysis
2 July 2019 After a quarter of zero female appointments, three female board directors were appointed to Hang Seng...
Analysis
New Appointments by Gender

2 July 2019

After a quarter of zero female appointments, three female board directors were appointed to Hang Seng Index companies this quarter, totalling 6.7% of all appointments this year.

Sadly, these three appointments have not resulted in a net increase in the number of female members of the respective companies' boards, as each appointment replaced a female board member who stepped down.

Compared to male appointments, the paltry level of female appointments this year has been disheartening.  In the first half of this year, 42 male directors and only 3 female directors were appointed to Hang Seng Index boards. With all the efforts to develop and promote female talent in Hong Kong as well as visible growth in the talent pool, it is clear that the lack of gender diversity on listed boards is not a supply issue, but that of demand.  The demand for female talent must be a key priority of the leadership of listed companies.

Key Data (Hong Kong)

New Female Director Appointments

Data valid as of 2 July 2019
Share
First time director on HSI board
First time appointed corporate director in Hong Kong
  • Gan, Kathleen Chieh Huey 顏杰慧

    NED
    Hang Seng Bank Ltd
    Profile
  • Lee, Velencia 李蕙蘭

    FD
    Sino Land Company Ltd
  • Ma, Mary Xuezheng 馬雪征

    NED
    Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd
Analysis
2 July 2019 The three new appointments this quarter were made to Velencia Lee (Sino Land Company), Kathleen Chieh...
Analysis
New Female Director Appointments

2 July 2019

The three new appointments this quarter were made to Velencia Lee (Sino Land Company), Kathleen Chieh Huey Gan (Hang Seng Bank) and Mary Xuezheng Ma (Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing). It is notable that the appointment of Kathleen Chieh Huey Gan factored in Hang Seng Bank’s move in the League Table from third to first.

Velencia Lee is the only female appointee who is a first-time board member, showing that unfortunately, the female pipeline of new and upcoming talent is not being effectively tapped when searching for appropriate board candidates. 

Key Data (Hong Kong)

Progress by Geography

Data obtained from official sources
Share

Norway

Jan 2017
42.1 %

United Kingdom

Jun 2018
29.0 %

Australia

Oct 2018
28.4 %

Canada

Jul 2018
28.4 %

United States

May 2018
24.0 %

Malaysia

Q3 2018
23.2 %

New Zealand

Jun 2018
20.5 %

Singapore

Dec 2018
15.2 %

India

Mar 2018
14.0 %

Hong Kong

Jan 2019
13.9 %

Japan

Jul 2018
4.1 %
Analysis
There have been some small victories for countries around the globe. Most notably, Singapore and India have overtaken Hong Kong in the...
Analysis
Progress by Geography

There have been some small victories for countries around the globe. Most notably, Singapore and India have overtaken Hong Kong in the rankings for the first time, reporting 15.2% (Singapore) and 14.0% (India) women on their boards. Regionally, Malaysia reports the highest numbers, with 23.2% recorded. Both India and Malaysia have government quotas in place which may go some way to explaining their acceleration in recent years. Singapore, via the government-backed Council for Board Diversity*, has enacted a multi-pronged campaign involving naming-and-shaming, engaging with board decision makers, maintaining a list of female candidates, and showcasing through data the impact on corporate performance. Inspired by this galvanised action, vocal support from male champions at the board level has increased dramatically. All of these factors have led to rapid progress in Singapore, with female board appointments reaching a record high of 24.0% during 2018.

  • Previously named ‘Diversity Action Committee’ and starting in January 2019, its scope has expanded to also include statutory boards and non-profit organisations.
Analytical Summary
While it is a relief to observe a small uptick in the overall representation of women on Hong Kong’s top 50 listed boards compared with the previous quarter, the meagre increase in actual terms (0.4%) shows that there is much work to be done.
Of 45 board appointments made in a three-month period, only three of these were to women, and only one of those women is a first-time board member.
It is sad to see that Hong Kong continues to buck global and regional trends in the advancement of women’s representation on boards. Complacency across the board in Hong Kong’s business sector has become an epidemic and progress continues to be contained within a few enlightened companies. In the first half of 2019, there have only been a paltry three female director appointments on the Hang Seng Index. If this trend continues into the second half of the year, it will mark the lowest level of female appointments for two years in a row. Unless a combined effort between the Hong Kong government, companies, investors, regulators and other stakeholders is made to remedy Hong Kong’s male-dominant boards, Hong Kong cannot rightly call itself a global business centre which offers fair and equal opportunity to all.


Our full recommendations for increasing women’s representation on Hong Kong boards can be found in our Call to Action.