HKTDC webinar highlights Hong Kong’s role as a key UK business partner
In order to strengthen the longstanding relationship between Hong Kong and UK businesses, the “Discovering and Realising New Opportunities in Asia” signature webinar was held last Thursday, 18 November, hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and co-organised by the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.
The webinar updated participants on the latest business developments in Hong Kong and examined the city’s unique role as a multi-faceted hub that UK businesses can leverage to capture new opportunities in the dynamic Asian market, particularly the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc.
Over 700 participants took part in the webinar, including business leaders and senior government officials from Hong Kong and the UK. They were welcomed by Dr Peter K N Lam, Chairman of the HKTDC.
In his opening remarks, Dr Lam said: “In 2020, Hong Kong was the UK’s 12 largest trading partner in the world and the second-largest in Asia, after Mainland China. Over US$6 billion of trade between the UK and Mainland China is routed through Hong Kong.
“As a global hub in finance, trade and logistics, our city has a long history of supporting international companies. Moreover, Hong Kong’s role in connecting the world with China, the Greater Bay Area offers even more prospects as a resource hub and a market.”
Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), delivered the keynote address on Hong Kong’s role as a two-way platform for the world to connect with Mainland China and Asia. The Chief Executive remarked that “The best of Hong Kong is yet to come and Hong Kong’s future is grounded in a very solid foundation.”
This is owing to the innovative “One Country, Two Systems” framework which will underline Hong Kong’s continued success, the enactment and implementation of a National Security Law, and the decision to amend Annex 1 and Annex 2 of the Basic Law to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system. Other important reasons for her optimism are that Hong Kong’s traditional strengths and core values have been strengthened, the continuous, staunch support of the Central People’s government, and her advocacy of a proactive government that has adopted many policy initiatives and legislation to strengthen Hong Kong’s international proactiveness.
Topical sessions explore business opportunities between HK and UK
Attendees were invited to take part in three sessions in which senior figures from key players in the world of international business spotlighted topical issues in the areas of finance, business expansion in Asia and healthcare. In the session “Capitalising on New Opportunities in Asia’s Financial Sector”, guests heard the way forward for Hong Kong as an international financial centre and asset management hub, as well as new opportunities related to green and sustainable finance with a focus on the GBA and ASEAN.
Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the HKSAR, remarked: “If you look at what we have done in terms of trying to foster the sustainability finance ecosystem in Hong Kong, we are exerting ourselves through various fronts. Number one priority is market creation and facilitation. When we do that, it is not just Hong Kong per se, but we will serve our country and the region at large.”
Speaking on Hong Kong’s advantages as an asset management hub, particularly for those interested in Asia, China, and the transition to a lower-carbon future, Sir Douglas Flint, Chairman of abrdn plc said that “I think Hong Kong has a tremendous role to play because of the integrity of its regulatory system, its legal system and so on, in terms of giving a seal of approval and confidence in funds that are recognised in Hong Kong. I think broadly there is a very big opportunity for Hong Kong to create a funds framework to compete with the other major fund frameworks in the world.”
The second session, “The Future is Now: Expanding Your Business in Asia”, provided an insight into Hong Kong’s role as a trading and investment hub, and especially how UK businesses can leverage the Hong Kong platform to capture rising opportunities in Mainland China and ASEAN.
On what makes Hong Kong such a special place to conduct business with Mainland China and the rest of the world, YK Pang, Deputy Managing Director & Chairman of Hong Kong Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited, said: “I will sum it up in one word, and that is connectivity. Connectivity comes from the geographic proximity to the mainland, the multicultural aspects of being in Hong Kong, where East-meets-West; it continues to be the gateway to the mainland, and, therefore, Hong Kong serves very well as a base to operate from, and will continue to be an important centre to conduct business with the mainland.”
The final session, on the topic of “Winning the Healthcare Sector in Asia”, allowed attendees to gain a deeper understanding of the prospects for the Asian healthcare market and the vast opportunities it offers, and how businesses can take advantage of Hong Kong’s strengths in the areas of research and development and fundraising to achieve this.
Danny Yeung, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Prenetics Group, commented: “Hong Kong is a testbed. If you’re able to succeed in Hong Kong, this actually creates much more opportunity within the GBA and Southeast Asia.”
The virtual event was held in lieu of the annual Hong Kong Dinner in London due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The dinner has been held annually since 1983 to celebrate and promote bilateral trade ties between Hong Kong and the UK.
To watch the recorded webinar, please see this link: https://youtu.be/UWEEr_Hk2zM
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub.
The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus.