Women on Boards

Hong Kong 2020
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In recent years, we have seen a small minority of enlightened Hong Kong listed companies take concrete actions to rectify their gender-homogeneous board makeup. The majority have resisted or paid mere lip-service to the issue by appointing a token woman, before returning to business as usual and a candidate pool taken from ‘the old boys club’.

 

Key Data (Hong Kong)

Percentage of Women on Hang Seng Index (HSI) Boards

Data valid as of 2 January 2020
Share
13.6 %
Women on HSI boards
Analysis
2 January 2020 We are disappointed that, for the first time since we started to report on Women on Boards in Hong...
Analysis
Percentage of Women on Hang Seng Index (HSI) Boards

2 January 2020

We are disappointed that, for the first time since we started to report on Women on Boards in Hong Kong in 2009, we have seen a year-on-year drop in female representation, from 13.9% to 13.6%, with the actual number of women in board seats at 81 compared with 594 men.

As we begin a new decade, the stagnation in Hong Kong with regard to female representation on boards is a worrying sign that Hong Kong business is falling behind other markets.  Hong Kong considers itself ‘Asia’s World City’ and a top international financial centre.  Although the ambition is there, it is not backed up by concrete actions and a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion.

We must reiterate again 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 January 2020
Share

Companies with at least one female director

39 (78 %)
40 (80.0 %)
41 (80.4 %)
39 (78.0 %)
  • Jan 2020
  • Jan 2019
  • Jan 2018
  • Jan 2017

Companies with multiple female directors

20 (40 %)
22 (44.0 %)
24 (47.1 %)
20 (40.0 %)
  • Jan 2020
  • Jan 2019
  • Jan 2018
  • Jan 2017

Companies with female executive directors

16 (32 %)
19 (38.0 %)
19 (37.3 %)
15 (30.0 %)
  • Jan 2020
  • Jan 2019
  • Jan 2018
  • Jan 2017

Companies with female CEOs

1 (2 %)
1 (2.0 %)
1 (2.0 %)
1 (2.0 %)
  • Jan 2020
  • Jan 2019
  • Jan 2018
  • Jan 2017

Companies with all-male boards

11 (22 %)
10 (20.0 %)
10 (19.6 %)
11 (22.0 %)
  • Jan 2020
  • Jan 2019
  • Jan 2018
  • Jan 2017
Analysis
2 January 2020 In addition to the headline statistics on the representation of women on Hong Kong’s listed boards,...
Analysis
Summary of Gender Diversity on HSI Boards

2 January 2020

In addition to the headline statistics on the representation of women on Hong Kong’s listed boards, the bad news doesn’t stop there.  It is frustrating to see no positive trends across our diversity markers at the start of 2020. Companies with at least one female director, companies with multiple female directors and companies with female executive directors have all decreased since this time last year.

Despite the removal of Tencent from our ‘all-male boards’ category in 2019, the number remains at 11 or 22%, a less favourable position compared with January 2019 when we reported 10 companies.

Key Data (Hong Kong)

Women on Boards League Table: HSI

Data valid as of 2 January 2020 | Currently 50 constituents on the HSI
Share

Most eventful

New HSI Constituent
Rank

Top 10

Rank
Company
2019 New
Percent
1
(--)
HSBC Holdings plc 滙豐控股有限公司
41.67%
1 (--)
HSBC Holdings plc 滙豐控股有限公司
% Women
41.67%
Board Size
12
No. of Women
5
Stock Code
5
Chairperson
Tucker, Mark Edward 杜嘉祺
Female Directors
Casey, Kathleen Louise 祈嘉蓮; Cha Shih, Laura May Lung 史美倫; Lee, Irene Yun Lien利蘊蓮; Miller, Heidi 苗凱婷; van der Meer Mohr, Pauline 梅爾莫
2
( 1)
Hang Seng Bank Ltd 恒生銀行有限公司
38.46%
2 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 1)
Hang Seng Bank Ltd 恒生銀行有限公司
% Women
38.46%
Board Size
13
No. of Women
5
Stock Code
11
Chairperson
Ch'ien, Raymond Kuo Fung 錢果豐
Female Directors
Cheang, Louisa Wai Wan 鄭慧敏; Chiang, Lai Yuen 蔣麗苑; Gan, Kathleen Chieh Huey 顏杰慧; Kwan, Margaret Wing Han 關穎嫺; Lee, Irene Yun Lien 利蘊蓮
3
(--)
Link Real Estate Investment Trust 領展房地產投資信託基金
36.36%
3 (--)
Link Real Estate Investment Trust 領展房地產投資信託基金
% Women
36.36%
Board Size
11
No. of Women
4
Stock Code
823
Chairperson
Allen, Nicholas
Female Directors
Tan, May Siew Boi 陳秀梅; Tan, Poh Lee 陳寶莉; Tse, Nancy Sau Ling 謝秀玲; Young, Elaine Carole
4
(--)
China Shenhua Energy Company Ltd 中國神華能源股份有限公司
33.33%
4 (--)
China Shenhua Energy Company Ltd 中國神華能源股份有限公司
% Women
33.33%
Board Size
9
No. of Women
3
Stock Code
1088
Chairperson
Wang, Xiangxi 王祥喜
Female Directors
Jiang, Bo 姜波; Tam, Maria Wai Chu 譚惠珠; Zhong, Christina Yingjie 鍾穎潔
4
( 1)
Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd 中國生物製藥有限公司
33.33%
4 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 1)
Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd 中國生物製藥有限公司
% Women
33.33%
Board Size
12
No. of Women
4
Stock Code
1177
Chairperson
Tse, Theresa Y Y 謝其潤
Female Directors
Cheng, Cheung Ling 鄭翔玲; Li, Mingqin 李名沁; Lu, Hong 魯紅; Tse, Theresa Y Y 謝其潤
6
(--)
Bank of China Ltd 中國銀行股份有限公司
25.00%
6 (--)
Bank of China Ltd 中國銀行股份有限公司
% Women
25.00%
Board Size
12
No. of Women
3
Stock Code
3988
Chairperson
Liu, Liange 劉連舸
Female Directors
Chao, Angela A 趙安吉; Wang, Xiaoya 汪小亞; Xiao, Lihong 肖立紅
6
(--)
MTR Corporation Ltd 香港鐵路有限公司
25.00%
6 (--)
MTR Corporation Ltd 香港鐵路有限公司
% Women
25.00%
Board Size
20
No. of Women
5
Stock Code
66
Chairperson
Auyeung, Rex Pak Kuen 歐陽伯權
Female Directors
Chan Yuen, Dorothy Tak Fai 陳阮德徽; Chan, Mable 陳美寶; Chan, Pamela Wong Shui 陳黃穗; Lee, Rose Wai Mun 李慧敏; Li Li, Lucia Ka Lai 李李嘉麗
6
( 7)
Swire Pacific Ltd 太古股份有限公司
25.00%
6 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 7)
Swire Pacific Ltd 太古股份有限公司
% Women
25.00%
Board Size
12
No. of Women
3
Stock Code
19
Chairperson
Swire, Merlin Bingham 施銘倫
Female Directors
Lee, Rose Wai Mun 李慧敏; Lin, Shirley Syaru 林夏如; Low, Michelle Mei Shuen 劉美璇
9
( 1)
CK Infrastructure Holdings LTD (BM) 長江基建集團有限公司
23.53%
9 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 1)
CK Infrastructure Holdings LTD (BM) 長江基建集團有限公司
% Women
23.53%
Board Size
17
No. of Women
4
Stock Code
1038
Chairperson
Li, Victor Tzar Kuoi 李澤鉅
Female Directors
Chen, Tsien Hua 陳建華; Kwok Lee, Eva 郭李綺華; Lee Wong, Angelina Pui Ling 李王佩玲; Sng, Sow Mei 孫潘秀美
10
( 1)
CK Asset Holdings Ltd (KY) 長江實業集團有限公司
23.08%
10 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 1)
CK Asset Holdings Ltd (KY) 長江實業集團有限公司
% Women
23.08%
Board Size
13
No. of Women
3
Stock Code
1113
Chairperson
Li, Victor Tzar Kuoi 李澤鉅
Female Directors
Hung, Katherine Siu Lin 洪小蓮; Pau, Ezra Yee Wan 鮑綺雲; Woo, Grace Chia Ching 吳佳慶
Analysis
2 January 2020 Our 2020 Women on Boards League Table sports the same top 5 companies that appeared throughout 2019....
Analysis
Women on Boards League Table: HSI

2 January 2020

Our 2020 Women on Boards League Table sports the same top 5 companies that appeared throughout 2019. HSBC and Hang Seng Bank retain 1st and 2nd positions with 41.67% and 38.46% female representation respectively. Link Real Estate, China Shenhua Energy and Sino Biopharmaceutical make up the remaining top five companies.

Key Data (Hong Kong)

All-Male Boards

Data valid as of 2 January 2020
Share
11 Companies with all-male boards
6 Companies which have never had female directors

Companies which do not have female directors

Companies which have never had female directors
Company
Industry
China Mobile Ltd (HK) 中國移動有限公司
Commerce & Industry
China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation 中國石油化工股份有限公司
Commerce & Industry
China Resources Land Ltd 華潤置地有限公司
Properties
CNOOC Ltd 中國海洋石油有限公司
Commerce & Industry
CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd 石藥集團有限公司
Commerce & Industry
Mengniu Dairy Company Ltd 中國蒙牛乳業有限公司
Commerce & Industry
Power Assets Holdings Ltd 電能實業有限公司
Utilities
Sunny Optical Technology (Group) Company Ltd 舜宇光學科技(集團)有限公司
Commerce & Industry
Techtronic Industries Company Ltd 創科實業
Commerce & Industry
The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Ltd 香港中華煤氣有限公司
Utilities
WH Group Ltd (KY) 萬洲國際有限公司
Commerce & Industry
Analysis
2 January 2020 With all the arguments and advocacy in support of gender-diverse boards, it is difficult to understand...
Analysis
All-Male Boards

2 January 2020

With all the arguments and advocacy in support of gender-diverse boards, it is difficult to understand why some corporate boards remain resolute in their resistance to appointing female directors.  In Hong Kong, the number of Hang Seng Index companies with all-male boards and those which have never had a female director remain unchanged at 11 and 6 respectively compared with the final quarter of 2019. The last notable movement was the appointment of Yang Ke to the Tencent board last year. Ke’s appointment removed Tencent from the list of companies which have never had a female board member.

The argument that there is a lack of supply of female candidates in Hong Kong is hardly convincing.  There are no lack of initiatives in Hong Kong including training programmes to develop a pipeline of women directors and to identify board-ready talent, as well as international executive search firms who provide board advisory and search services.

However, there is a glimmer of hope in this area – in 2019, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange introduced a new measure for new IPO applicants, requiring specific gender diversity disclosures in their IPO prospectuses.  In cases where the listing applicant has a single gender board, the applicant will have to explain how and when board gender diversity will be achieved after listing. The prospectus is also required to provide details of measurable objectives that the listing applicant has set to implement gender diversity and the measures it has adopted to develop its board pipeline to achieve board diversity.

Key Data (Hong Kong)

New Appointments by Gender

Data valid as of 2 January 2020
Share
6
8.5%
Women
65
91.5%
Men
Out of a total of71appointments
Analysis
2 January 2020 Disappointingly, for the second year in a row, we saw only six female appointments to Hang Seng Index...
Analysis
New Appointments by Gender

2 January 2020

Disappointingly, for the second year in a row, we saw only six female appointments to Hang Seng Index boards, while 65 men were appointed.  Female appointments represented a paltry 8% of all appointments during 2019.   

Key Data (Hong Kong)

New Female Director Appointments

Data valid as of 2 January 2020
Share
First time director on HSI board
First time appointed corporate director in Hong Kong
  • Lin, Shirley Syaru 林夏如

    Appt: 01 Jan 2020
    INED, Swire Pacific Ltd
    Profile
  • Gan, Kathleen Chieh Huey 顏杰慧

    Appt: 10 May 2019
    NED, Hang Seng Bank Ltd
    Profile
  • Lee, Velencia 李蕙蘭

    Appt: 1 Jul 2019
    FD, Sino Land Company Ltd
  • Ke, Yang 柯楊

    Appt: 15 Aug 2019
    Tencent Holdings Ltd
Analysis
2 January 2020 Shirley Syaru Lin was the only female appointment made in the final quarter of 2019. She was appointed...
Analysis
New Female Director Appointments

2 January 2020

Shirley Syaru Lin was the only female appointment made in the final quarter of 2019. She was appointed to the Swire Pacific board, replacing Mary Xuezheng Ma who sadly passed away last year.

Key Data (Hong Kong)

Progress by Geography

Data obtained from official sources
Share

Norway

Mar 2019
42.5 %

United Kingdom

Jul 2019
32.1 %

Australia

Nov 2019
30.0 %

Canada

Sep 2019
30.2 %

United States

May 2019
26.0 %

Malaysia

May 2019
23.7 %

New Zealand

Jul 2019
28.4 %

Singapore

Jun 2019
15.7 %

India

Mar 2018
14.0 %

Hong Kong

Jan 2020
13.6 %

Japan

Jul 2018
4.1 %
Analysis
This global comparison illustrates just how far behind other leading economies Hong Kong lags. In Asia, we see Malaysia, Singapore and...
Analysis
Progress by Geography

This global comparison illustrates just how far behind other leading economies Hong Kong lags. In Asia, we see Malaysia, Singapore and India striding ahead of Hong Kong with 23.7%, 15.7% and 14.0% female representation on their boards respectively. In order to maintain its competitive edge and postion as a top financial centre, Hong Kong must make changes to the way board positions are filled and address the deficit of women in senior leadership positions in the city. 

Analytical Summary
We are disappointed that, for the first time since we started to report on Women on Boards in Hong Kong in 2009, there has been a year-on-year drop in female representation, from 13.9% to 13.6%.
2 January 2020

We are disappointed that, for the first time since we started to report on Women on Boards in Hong Kong in 2009, there has been a year-on-year drop in female representation, from 13.9% to 13.6%. This stagnation and the repeated dismissal of this issue by Hong Kong’s business community is very concerning. While other leading economies across the world have embraced the business case for gender-diverse representation at senior levels, Hong Kong continues ignore our calls, evidenced by the fact that only twelve women were appointed to board seats over the last 24 months, while 147 men were appointed during the same period.
In recent years, we have seen a small minority of enlightened Hong Kong listed companies take concrete actions to rectify their gender-homogeneous board makeup. The majority have resisted or paid mere lip-service to the issue by appointing a token woman, before returning to business as usual and a candidate pool taken from ‘the old boys club’. The carrot appears not to be working in Hong Kong: despite increasing acceptance globally that diverse boards signal good governance and facilitate better risk management and decision-making, Hong Kong companies are not changing their ways. This leads us to explore whether it’s time to introduce a stick. A mandated quota has proven to be an effective catalyst in other markets, and while we are hesitant to promote a measure that could undermine truly meritocratic appointments, it might be just the wake-up call that Hong Kong companies need.