Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Illustration by Tyler Comrie Last September, while protesters in Hong Kong were vandalizing mass transit stations and shattering windows to vent their anger over China’s encroachment on the former British colony, the leaders of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. (HKEX) flew to London on a secret mission. Laura Cha, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Credit: Remy Steinegger/World Economic Forum, Creative Commons On a humid, overcast morning, Laura Cha and Charles Li, the chairwoman and chief executive of the Hong Kong exchange, entered the headquarters of the London Stock Exchange in Paternoster Square and made an unsolicited, $36.6 billion offer to buy the venerable exchange. The merger promised to create the world’s biggest financial exchange, a formidable bourse that could serve as an international gateway, connecting East and West. Businesses in China that were hungry for capital would be more easily matched up with overseas investors who were eager for a stake in China’s economic riSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.