Hong Kong stock exchange fights to keep long lunch break

Lunch-hour office workers wait at an intersection in Hong Kong's financial district. Workers on the stock exchange there currently get a 1.5 hour lunch break, and are fighting to keep it from getting shortened.

Adriene Hill: Now to Hong Kong, home to one of the world's 10 biggest stock exchanges -- and some of world's shortest trading hours.

As the BBC's Andrew Wood reports, those long lunch breaks are under attack.


Andrew Wood: It's not so much Occupy Wall Street, as "Occupy Lunchtime." Hong Kong's one of the few stock exchanges in the world that stops trading for a midday meal break -- it's a nice leisurely ninety minutes. And some stock brokers were pretty angry last year when it was cut from two hours. Now they've joined forces with unions and even restaurant owners to resist a further cut in March to just an hour.

But its chairman, Ronald Arculli says that the lunch break needs to be cut if Hong Kong's going to keep ahead of longer-working rivals.

Ronald Arculli: If we did not do it, I fear we would lose some competitive edge.

In the film Wall Street, the villainous trader Gordon Gekko famously said that lunch is for wimps. Goodness knows what he would have made of Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong, I'm the BBC's Andrew Wood for Marketplace.

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