Women on Boards

Hong Kong 2019

Despite the growing awareness of the business case, the deep-rooted issues brought to light by the #MeToo movement and global efforts to drive positive change, Hong Kong’s lack of progress is overshadowed by a downward trend on almost all indicators, leading us to question: what will it take for Hong Kong to snap out of its complacency and seriously address this issue?

 

Key Data (Hong Kong)

Percentage of Women on Hang Seng Index (HSI) Boards

Data valid as of 2 Jan 2019
Share
13.9 %
Women on HSI boards
Analysis
In the last 12 months, the representation of women on the boards of the 50 Hang Seng Index (HSI) listed companies has stagnated. As of 2...
Analysis
Percentage of Women on Hang Seng Index (HSI) Boards

In the last 12 months, the representation of women on the boards of the 50 Hang Seng Index (HSI) listed companies has stagnated. As of 2 January 2019, just 13.9% of board positions were held by women, barely nudging up from 13.8% a year ago. Looking back over the last decade, there has been an increase of just 5% - and whilst the rate of change seemed to pick up pace between 2014-15 (9.6% to 11.1% over 12 months), this was not sustained and has declined in recent years.

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 Jan 2019
Share

Companies with at least one female director

40 (80.0 %)
41 (80.4 %)
39 (78.0 %)
34 (68.0 %)
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016

Companies with multiple female directors

22 (44.0 %)
24 (47.1 %)
20 (40.0 %)
19 (38.0 %)
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016

Companies with female executive directors

19 (38.0 %)
19 (37.3 %)
15 (30.0 %)
13 (26.0 %)
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016

Companies with female CEOs

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

Companies with all-male boards

10 (20.0 %)
10 (19.6 %)
11 (22.0 %)
16 (32.0 %)
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
Analysis
With the gloomy headline numbers, are there any glimmers of hope?  The percentage of companies with female executive directors is...
Analysis
Summary of Gender Diversity on HSI Boards

With the gloomy headline numbers, are there any glimmers of hope?  The percentage of companies with female executive directors is higher this year than it has ever been (38.0%).  Executive directorships are an indicator of the female pipeline in a company and whether the company is creating a supportive environment for women to reach the top.  Ten years ago, the percentage of companies with female executive directors was 31.0%, dipping as low as only 24.0% in 2013-2014 and climbing at a steady rate since then to reach 38.0%.  In total, there are 25 female executive directors out of a total of 215 on the Hang Seng Index today. We also see progress in the number of female chairpersons of HSI listed companies. From a meagre one female chairperson from 2011 to 2018, this statistic has risen to three this year.

Of all 50 HSI companies, only one (Hang Seng Bank) has a female CEO, Louisa Cheang Wai-wan. This has disappointingly remained largely constant over the last decade, only rising to two female CEO’s in 2015 and 2016 with Mengniu Dairy was added to the HSI in 2014.

 

 

 

Key Data (Hong Kong)

Women on Boards League Table: HSI

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

Most eventful

New HSI Constituent
Rank
9
( 10)
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd
23.1%
9 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 10)
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd
% Women
23.1%
Board Size
13
No. of Women
3
Stock Code
388
Chairperson
Cha Shih, Laura May Lung 史美倫
Female Directors
Cha Shih, Laura May Lung 史美倫
Fung, Anita Yuen Mei 馮婉眉
Leung Ko, Margaret May Yee 梁高美懿
28
( 22)
AAC Technologies Holdings Inc
10.0%
28 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 22)
AAC Technologies Holdings Inc
% Women
10.0%
Board Size
10
No. of Women
1
Stock Code
2018
Chairperson
Koh, Boon Hwee 許文輝
Female Directors
Wu, Ingrid Chunyuan 吳春媛
38
( 12)
Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China Ltd
6.7%
38 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 12)
Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China Ltd
% Women
6.7%
Board Size
15
No. of Women
1
Stock Code
2318
Chairperson
Ma, Mingzhe 馬明哲
Female Directors
Cai, Fangfang 蔡方方
38
( 12)
Want Want China Holdings Ltd
6.7%
38 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 12)
Want Want China Holdings Ltd
% Women
6.7%
Board Size
15
No. of Women
1
Stock Code
151
Chairperson
Tsai, Eng Meng 蔡衍明
Female Directors
Lai, Hong Yee 黎康儀

Top 10

Rank
Name
New
Percent
1
( 2)
Hang Seng Bank Ltd
38.5%
1 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 2)
Hang Seng Bank Ltd
% Women
38.5%
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
Kwan, Margaret Wing Han 關穎嫺
Lee, Irene Yun Lien 利蘊蓮
Legg, Sarah Catherine 李瑞霞
2
(N.A.)
Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd
36.4%
2 (N.A.)
Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd
% Women
36.4%
Board Size
11
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
3
( 2)
HSBC Holdings plc
35.7%
3 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 2)
HSBC Holdings plc
% Women
35.7%
Board Size
14
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 Lun 史美倫
Lee, Irene Yun Lien 利蘊蓮
Miller, Heidi 苗凱婷
van der Meer Mohr, Pauline 梅爾莫
4
( 2)
Link Real Estate Investment Trust
33.3%
4 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 2)
Link Real Estate Investment Trust
% Women
33.3%
Board Size
12
No. of Women
4
Stock Code
823
Chairperson
Allen, Nicholas Charles 聶雅倫
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  
5
( 4)
China Shenhua Energy Company Ltd
30.0%
5 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 4)
China Shenhua Energy Company Ltd
% Women
30.0%
Board Size
10
No. of Women
3
Stock Code
1088
Chairperson
Ling, Wen 凌文
Female Directors
Jiang, Bo 姜波
Tam, Maria Wai Chu 譚惠珠
Zhong, Christina Yingjie 鍾穎潔
6
( 3)
Bank of China Ltd
25.0%
6 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 3)
Bank of China Ltd
% Women
25.0%
Board Size
12
No. of Women
3
Stock Code
3988
Chairperson
Chen, Siqing 陳四清
Female Directors
Chao, Angela 趙安吉
Wang, Xiaoya 汪小亞
Xiao, Lihong 肖立紅
6
( 5)
MTR Corporation Ltd
25.0%
6 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 5)
MTR Corporation Ltd
% Women
25.0%
Board Size
20
No. of Women
5
Stock Code
66
Chairperson
Ma, Frederick Si Hang 馬時亨
Female Directors
Chan Wong, Pamela Shui 陳黃穗
Chan Yuen, Dorothy Tak Fai 陳阮德徽
Chan, Mable 陳美寶
Lee, Rose Wai Mun 李慧敏
Li Li, Lucia Ka Lai 李李嘉麗
8
(--)
CK Infrastructure Holdings Ltd (BM)
23.5%
8 (--)
CK Infrastructure Holdings Ltd (BM)
% Women
23.5%
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 潘秀美
9
( 2)
CK Asset Holdings Ltd (KY)
23.1%
9 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 2)
CK Asset Holdings Ltd (KY)
% Women
23.1%
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
9
( 10)
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd
23.1%
9 ( Group 2 Created with Sketch. 10)
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd
% Women
23.1%
Board Size
13
No. of Women
3
Stock Code
388
Chairperson
Cha Shih, Laura May Lung 史美倫
Female Directors
Cha Shih, Laura May Lung 史美倫
Fung, Anita Yuen Mei 馮婉眉
Leung Ko, Margaret May Yee 梁高美懿
Analysis
The League Table provides a high-level snapshot of the overall ranking of company performance – as assessed by the percentage of women...
Analysis
Women on Boards League Table: HSI

The League Table provides a high-level snapshot of the overall ranking of company performance – as assessed by the percentage of women on their boards. Over the last twelve months, we have seen some dramatic movement among the top 50, with Want Want China Holdings Limited climbing 12 places to 38th position and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing climbing 10 places to 9th position, with the notable appointment of a female chairperson, Laura Cha. Some sharp downward moves were also observed in 2019: AAC Technologies Holdings, for example, slipped 22 places to be ranked 28th and Ping An Insurance dropped 12 places to joint 38th position. In both of these companies, a female director left the board, and several men were appointed.  Other than the enlightened companies that have ranked at the top of our League Table for years, there appears to be a lack of real, sustained commitment to gender diverse boards by many companies.

Key Data (Hong Kong)

All-Male Boards

Data valid as of 2 Jan 2019
Share
10 Companies with all-male boards
5 Companies which have never had female directors

Companies which have never had female directors

Company
Industry
CNOOC Ltd
Energy
The Hong Kong and China Gas Co. Ltd
Utilities
Sunny Optical Technology (Group) Ltd
Industrials
Tencent Holdings Ltd
Information Technology
WH Group Ltd (KY)
Consumer Goods
Analysis
Disappointingly, 2019 marks a missed target for Hong Kong in terms of eradicating all-male boards in Hong Kong. The 30% Club Hong Kong...
Analysis
All-Male Boards

Disappointingly, 2019 marks a missed target for Hong Kong in terms of eradicating all-male boards in Hong Kong. The 30% Club Hong Kong set the aspirational goal, hoping to see positive change by the end of 2018. Unfortunately, there remains ten companies with no women on their boards, the same level as a year ago.  Furthermore, five of these companies – CNOOC, Sunny Optical Technology, Tencent Holdings, Towngas and WH Group – have never had female representation on their boards.

On a more positive note, we celebrate the fact that Want Want China Holdings appointed a female director in 2018 and in so doing, has not only removed itself from the all-male boards category, but also climbed twelve places to 38th position in the League Table.  This favourable outcome was unfortunately offset by the addition of CSPC Pharmaceutical to the HSI in June 2018, and with no women on its board, kept the overall level of all-male boards at ten.

Key Data (Hong Kong)

New Appointments by Gender

Data valid as of 2 Jan 2019
Share
6
6.8%
Women
82
93.2%
Men
Out of a total of88appointments
Analysis
Over the last twelve months, only six new female directors have been appointed to Hang Seng Index companies – the lowest since 2009,...
Analysis
New Appointments by Gender

Over the last twelve months, only six new female directors have been appointed to Hang Seng Index companies – the lowest since 2009, both in actual and percentage (6.8%) terms. During this same period, 82 men were appointed to HSI boards. This downward trend in female appointments is in sharp contrast to the previous year, when 17 female appointments were made, representing 18.7%, the highest rate ever.  

Key Data (Hong Kong)

New Female Director Appointments

Data valid as of 2 Jan 2019
Share
First time director on HSI board
First time appointed corporate director in Hong Kong
  • YANG Huiyan

    Co-Chair
    Country Garden Holdings
  • May TAN

    INED
    CLP Holdings
    Profile
  • Laura CHA

    INED, CH
    Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing
    Profile
  • Rose LEE

    INED
    MTR Corporation
    Profile
  • Leonie KI

    NED
    New World Development Co.
    Profile
  • LAI Hong Yee

    ED
    Want Want China Holdings
Analysis
Of the six female directors appointed in 2019, only four were new appointments (the remaining two were role changes: Leonie Ki from...
Analysis
New Female Director Appointments

Of the six female directors appointed in 2019, only four were new appointments (the remaining two were role changes: Leonie Ki from Executive Director to Non-Executive Director at New World Development; and Yang Huiyan from Country Garden Holdings, who was promoted from Vice-Chair to Co-Chair). Only one woman (Lai Hong Yee of Want Want China Holdings) was a brand-new appointment as she has not previously been appointed to any other Hong Kong listed corporate boards. This finding indicates that companies are reluctant to appoint women who have not had previous board experience, which further limits the expansion of the talent pipeline of senior women who could be considered for board roles.

It is important to ensure that the pipeline of female talent is not only nurtured from within (with companies supporting the advancement of women to senior positions), but also tapped when it comes to nominating board candidates. Companies should ensure that their pool of potential board members is meritocratic and diverse. Broad perspectives based on relevant experience are invaluable around the boardroom table in these VUCA times. The 30% Club Hong Kong, in partnership with The Women’s Foundation, has established the Boardroom series for Women Leaders which aims to tackle this perceived lack of female talent at the board level and offer opportunities for women to ensure their path to the boardroom is not hindered by a gendered disadvantage.

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
In the eleven years that Community Business has been tracking the representation of women on Hong Kong boards, we have seen only marginal progress confined to a select group of progressive companies. Singapore’s recent triumph over Hong Kong in this area (15.2% vs Hong Kong’s 13.9%), as well as its increasing momentum, should serve as a wake-up call for our city. Hong Kong’s reputation as an international financial centre is being undermined by the lack of progress on this issue.
The lack of women on corporate boards is now firmly established in the global conversation. At the end of 2018, California passed a law that legally obligates companies based in the state to appoint at least one female board director by the end of 2019. In the UK, HSBC reacted to recent criticism of its gender pay gap (61% in 2018) by reaffirming its commitment to increase the percentage of women in senior management roles to 30% by 2020, from the current 23%. While there is much work to be done globally to address the lack of female representation in the corporate domain, what we do see is a positive response to the issue from international companies. Hong Kong, on the whole, lacks this resolve.

A concerted and collective effort is required by companies, governments, regulators, investors, and other stakeholders to ensure that women are given equal opportunity to participate and serve in leadership roles in the boardroom and executive suite. This begins with a commitment to change and a bold admission from Hong Kong companies that gender diversity is good for business, and ultimately good for Hong Kong.

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