Hong Kong plays a strategic role as the Mainland financial market reaches out to the world, adding renminbi, or Chinese yuan, business development in the city is one of the most important policy initiatives, Chief Secretary Henry Tang said at the launch of HSBC Bank (China) Limited's renminbi retail bonds offering on Monday afternoon.

Renminbi business will add to the breadth and depth of Hong Kong's financial market and underline the city's strengths as an international financial centre, Tang said.

Renminbi business has taken root in Hong Kong since 2004, when renminbi deposits, remittances, exchanges and credit cards were introduced, followed by renminbi cheques in 2005. In 2007 came the first issue of renminbi bonds by Mainland financial institutions.

In 2009, Hong Kong issued the first renminbi bonds by Hong Kong banks on the Mainland. There have been a total of nine renminbi bond issues in Hong Kong, totalling 29 billion yuan ($4.24 billion).

Hong Kong recently launched the pilot scheme of renminbi trade settlement.

All of these consolidate Hong Kong's role as a testing ground for the Mainland's financial reforms, diversify the city's renminbi business, and increase the mobility of renminbi funds between the Mainland and Hong Kong, Tsang noted.

1 yuan = $0.146289