PRESS DIGEST -Hong Kong - March 24

HONG KONG, March 24 Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:11pm EDT

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HONG KONG, March 24 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading stories in Hong Kong newspapers on Monday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

-- Fund managers welcome a proposed law change in Hong Kong that will make it easier to launch fund products in the city, while conceding it may take time for the changes to bed down in the market. (link.reuters.com/rab87v)

-- Reforms aimed at freeing up market forces on the mainland will result in a reduced role for government, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said. Fair and open market rules would be introduced as steps towards a modern economic system built on deeper reforms, Zhang said. (link.reuters.com/pab87v)

-- The mainland's four biggest banks are expected to report the slowest profit growth for last year since the global financial crisis in 2008 amid shrinking margins and surging bad-loan write-offs. (link.reuters.com/vab87v)

THE STANDARD

-- Hongkongers studying in Taiwan say they hope the island will not go the way of Hong Kong by becoming dependent on the mainland. (link.reuters.com/xab87v)

-- The upcoming listing of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group IPO-ALIB.N may signal the peak for the mainland tech sector, legendary European investor Anthony Bolton says. (link.reuters.com/zab87v)

-- Secondary home transactions at 10 major Hong Kong estates over the weekend plunged by a third from the previous weekend as potential buyers turned cautious amid the spectre of interest rates rising and HK$390 million ($50.27 million) being absorbed by a new project offering attractive discounts. (link.reuters.com/ceb87v)

HONG KONG ECONOMIC JOURNAL

-- Chinese gold producer Zhaojin Mining Industry said its 2013 net profit fell 62 percent year on year to 734 million yuan ($117.91 million) amid a sharp fall in gold prices and higher operating costs.

-- The main focus of China's medical reform this year is seen to be on the provision of medical services, particularly in encouraging participation from private companies, according to industry experts.

HONG KONG ECONOMIC TIMES

-- China Modern Dairy Holdings, which supplies 70 percent of its raw milk to major shareholder China Mengniu Dairy , expects Nestle to become one of its top five customers if it strikes a deal to supply raw milk to the group in the mainland, according to deputy chairman Lina Gao.

For Chinese newspapers, see...............

($1 = 7.7588 Hong Kong Dollars) ($1 = 6.2250 Chinese Yuan) (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)

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