ZHIWU CHEN 陳志武
Director, Hong Kong Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences
Chair Professor of Finance
Cheng Yu-Tung Professor in Finance
Director, Centre for Quantitative History
HKU Council member
Professor Zhiwu Chen is Chair and Cheng Yu-Tung Professor in Finance at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Professor Chen currently serves as director of both Hong Kong Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (HKIHSS) and Centre for Quantitative History (CQH). His research covers finance theory, the sociology of finance, economic history, quantitative history, emerging markets, as well as China’s economy and capital markets. Professor Chen was a former Professor of Finance at Yale University (1999 – 2017) and a Special-Term Visiting Professor at Peking University (School of Economics) and Tsinghua University (School of Social Sciences).
Professor Chen started his career by publishing research papers in top economics and finance journals on topics related to financial markets and theories of asset pricing. Around 2001, he began to expand research beyond mature markets by investigating market development and institution-building issues in the context of China’s transition process and other emerging markets. He successfully led efforts to construct historical financial and social databases from China’s historical archives and has written on economic/social history topics. In 2013, he started the annual Summer School for Quantitative History cum International Symposium on Quantitative History at Tsinghua University and continues to organize them at Peking University, with the goal of promoting quantitative historical research in China and beyond. In 2022, Professor Chen’s Quantitative History of China project was awarded HK$67.32 million (over US$8.5 million) under the Areas of Excellence (AoE) Scheme, marking a new record high for government funding raised for the HKU Business School since its establishment.
Professor Chen has been a member of the HKU Council since November 2018. He is on the board of directors of Noah Holdings, Bairong Inc., and GigaCloud Tech. He also served on the International Advisory Board of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) (2012 – 19), the Expert Advisory Board for the formation of the China Investment Corporation (2007), and on the board of directors as an independent non-executive director at IDG Energy Investment (2016 – 18) and Bank of Communications (2010 – 18); as an independent director at PetroChina (2011 – 17) and Lord Abbett China (2007 – 15). He was on the Board of Trustees of the Yale China Association, the 12th and 13th Five-Year Plan Advisory Commission to the Beijing Municipal Government, and the Chief Academic Advisor to two 10-episode CCTV documentary series, “Wall Street” and “Money”. He was a co-founder and partner of Zebra Capital Management from 2001 to 2011. In Burson-Marsteller’s 2012 “G20 Influencers” report, Professor Chen was listed as one of the top ten political influencers in China.
Professor Chen is a frequent contributor to media publications in China on topics of economic policy, market development, institutional reform, and historical research. His work has been widely published and regularly featured in major newspapers and magazines in the United States, Hong Kong, China and many other countries. His Chinese books include: How Is Wealth Created? (2005), Media, Law and Markets (2005), Why are the Chinese Industrious and Yet Not Rich (2008), Irrational Overconfidence (2008), The Logic of Finance (2009), 24 Wealth Lectures (2009), Assessing China’s Economic Growth of the Past 30 Years (2010), On the China Model (2010), The Logic of Finance 2: Path to Individual Freedom (2015), Introduction to Finance (2018) and Introduction to Investment (2019). He has recently published a two-volume long history book in Chinese titled Logic of Civilization, that explores a number of human innovations, including mythology or magic and supernatural beliefs, technologies, social structures, cultural norms, religions, financial markets, and the welfare state. He has received research awards including the Graham and Dodd Award (2013), the Pacesetter Research Award (1999), the Merton Miller Prize (1994), and the Chicago Board Options Exchange Competitive Research Award (1994). He has also received a number of book awards in China and Hong Kong, among which are 23 awards for The Logic of Finance in China and Hong Kong, and the best book award from hexun.com for Why are the Chinese Industrious and Yet Not Rich.
Professor Chen received his PhD in financial economics from Yale University in 1990; MS in systems engineering from Changsha Institute of Technology in 1986; and BS in computer science from Central-South University in 1983. He was Assistant Professor of Finance at University of Wisconsin – Madison (1990 – 95); Associate Professor of Finance at Ohio State University (1995 – 99); and Professor of Finance at Yale University. He has been an endowed professor since joining HKU in July 2016. In July 2019, Professor Chen was conferred the title of Chair Professor of Finance in recognition of his contribution to finance.
Room 217, May Hall, / Room 1338, K. K. Leung Building, The University of Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3917-1271 / 3910-3079
Fax: (852) 2559-6143
CCHU9069 Economic Logic of Civilizations: How Human Societies have Innovated to Deal with Risk
Aug 29, 2023 China’s Economic Outlook: Pep Talks Up Top, Gloom on the Ground
“That sense of insecurity is almost universally shared within China now, across all walks of life,” said Chen Zhiwu, a professor of finance at the University of Hong Kong. “And that is why the government has been using all the official media and all other tools to convey a positive, optimistic message.”
Aug 25, 2023 How expanding China-led economic bloc Brics adds to the yuan’s global clout
However, it is already used for payments between China and five countries that will be in Brics from next year, said Chen Zhiwu, chair professor of finance at the University of Hong Kong, pointing to Argentina, Brazil, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
“All of these bilateral trade relations are going up,” Chen said.
Aug 10, 2023 China’s Economy Isn’t Ailing—It’s ‘Evolving’: IPO Lawyers Told to Watch Their Language
“As long as stock issuers lay out the good and the bad, they will not be held accountable if these bad things—which hopefully will never happen—do happen,” said Zhiwu Chen, a finance professor at the University of Hong Kong who sat on the CSRC’s international advisory council from 2012 to 2019.
Aug 1, 2023 China syndrome: open and closed for business at the same time
“The regulators have introduced a lot of ambiguous steps that must be followed around winding down, and winding out, of foreign investments in China,” Professor Zhiwu Chen, chair of Finance at Hong Kong University, told FinanceAsia.
Jun 30, 2023 Asia’s Former Richest Man Struggles To Raise Cash Amid Mounting Debts
“His (Wang’s) challenges are only bigger now,” says Chen Zhiwu, chair professor of finance at the University of Hong Kong. “IPOs, bond issuance, bank loans … all these funding opportunities are now first and foremost reserved for SOEs [state-owned enterprises] and strategic industry players. It is definitely not easy for real estate developers and companies in not so strategically important sectors.”
May 17, 2023 Wall Street’s Biggest Banks Face a Harsh Reality Check in China
"Wall Street banks should have factored in geopolitical risks a long time ago," said Chen Zhiwu, a professor of finance at the University of Hong Kong Business School. “Over the next five years, the best case scenario for them is that China reverses direction and goes back to real open-door policy and market reforms, revitalizing the business environment. This is an extremely unlikely scenario but not impossible.”
Apr 6, 2023 專訪經濟學家陳志武：中國經濟的復甦困境，與未來發展方向的結構性轉變
March 26, 2023 How China Keeps Putting Off Its ‘Lehman Moment’
HONG KONG — Remember the Evergrande crisis?
It was little more than a year ago that Evergrande Group, the Chinese property developer, was about to collapse under more than S300 billion in debt. There were warnings of a catastrophic default that would ripple through China’s economy, maybe even set off a global depression. China, it was said, faced its Lehman Brothers moment — when a corporate failure like that which felled the once-venerable Wall Street investment bank in 2008 finally forces Chinese Communist Party policymakers to reckon with systemic financial weakness.
March 19, 2023 Chinese Tech Feels the SVB Effect
Chinese companies that did business with SVB in the U.S. also have plenty of options as they join the rush to find a new bank. But SVB’s collapse may make firms think twice before relying on smaller, regional banks. “There is a shift going on,” says Chen Zhiwu (https://www.hkubs.hku.hk/pflop1e/zhiwu-chen/). a finance professor at the University of Hong Kong. “Everyone I know has been moving money from small banks into big ones.” Chen says that some of the companies he advises are concerned about this transition, fearing that they may not get the sort of specialized or preferential service from large banks that they enjoyed with SVB.
March 18, 2023 China's M&A Star Told His Employees to Be Bold — Then He Disappeared
“Confidence has been very much shattered,” said Zhiwu Chen, a professor and chair of finance at the University of Hong Kong’s business school. “The government’s desire to haveprivate equity and venture capital invest more is very much undermined,” he added.
March 16, 2023 Hong Kong's wealth managers braced for a bumpy ride
But other voices believe the cards are stacked against Hong Kong’s long-term revival and continued prosperity. “The Hong Kong government people try pretty hard,but they are going against headwinds,” says Zhiwu Chen,professor ofﬁnance and director of the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong.
March 8, 2023 China's Financial Regulators Face Deep Pay Cuts After Revamp
Since CSRC and CBIRC had been categorised differently from government organizations in the past, the regulators had more discretion in setting salaries and employees typically received higher pay than public servants, said Zhiwu Chen, a professor of finance at the University of Hong Kong Business School. “With this new definition for their positions, some of them may have to accept a pay cut of 50% or more. They will not be happy,” he said.
February 22, 2023 China pitches belt and road to ‘illiberal’ Hungary as Beijing's links with Moscow sow suspicion in Europe
“I don’t think there is much of a future for the belt and road in the pro-Western countries, though China would like to have both camps in the fold,” said Chen Zhiwu, chair professor of finance at the University of Hong Kong. “The world is being divided into two blocs again.”
February 17, 2023 China Set to Name New Chiefs at Banking, Market Regulators
Zhiwu Chen, a professor of finance at the University of Hong Kong Business School, expects that Yi, given his experience in banking, will work well with He Lifeng, the incoming vice premier in charge of financial and fiscal matters, as well as incoming Premier Li Qiang. Both Li and Yi are from Wenzhou in the eastern Zhejiang province, he said, adding they have “some appreciation of practicality.”
February 8, 2023 Chinese Consumers Hoard Cash After Confidence Takes a Hit
“Confidence has plummeted in the past year,” said Zhiwu Chen, chair professor of finance at the University of Hong Kong, referring to both individuals and businesses in China. “When people are uncertain about the future, their first reaction is to save money.”
January 26, 2023 Exodus of Wealthy Chinese Accelerates With End of Covid Zero
“If several million people go out and travel this year, that may still amount to tens of billions of dollars of downward pressure on the foreign exchange reserves that China has,” said Chen Zhiwu, chair professor of finance at Hong Kong University.
January 13, 2023 Can China's Billionaires Breathe A Sigh Of Relief In 2023?
That’s because analysts are predicting the government’s latest market-friendly policies could fade as soon as this year. “Once the economic conditions stabilize, I would expect a return to whatever was happening prior to November 2022,” says Chen Zhiwu, a professor of finance at the University of Hong Kong.