September 7 - 13, 2017

Business

From Vision to Action: Belt and Road Summit highlights initiatives and blueprint

More than 3,000 policy and decision makers in the political and business sectors, including 40-plus senior ministers and business leaders from Belt and Road countries and regions, attended a summit  in Hong Kong (Sep 11) for insights and updates on the opportunities and challenges. Offering a platform for high-level exchange and business cooperation, the summit, held by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, included a showcase of 175 investment projects that are seeking business partners and one-to-one business matching meetings for more than 200 project owners, investors and service providers.

Speaking at the summit, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Hong Kong, a key link for the Belt and Road, would fully play to its strengths as an international metropolis and China’s best-connected city. A new co-operation agreement between Hong Kong and the Central Government is on the horizon which will set out strategies on key areas such as finance and capital raising. It will also detail areas that Hong Kong can serve the Belt and Road Initiatives for our nation and for partners that will be collaborating with us. The attendees included Thailand’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Virasakdi Futrakul, Poland’s Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Construction Justyna Skrzydło, Slovak Minister of Finance Peter Kažimir and Slovak State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance Danou Meager.

Key link to Belt and Road

At the summit, Financial Secretary Paul Chan highlighted the different facilitation measures for corporations looking to expand their businesses to the Belt and Road countries. For example, tax concessions for qualified corporate treasury centers set up in Hong Kong. Given Hong Kong’s capabilities in raising funds, there is a myriad of financing avenues such as syndicated loan, private equity funds, bonds and lately sukuk. For the latter, Hong Kong is the first AAA-government to have launched a sukuk with a 10-year tenor.   

Also speaking at the summit, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau highlighted the imminent pact that will set up the bilateral G-to-G mechanism between China and Hong Kong; the recently concluded free trade agreement (FTA) with ASEAN, and business connect at various levels, including an inaugural Belt and Road Chamber of Commerce soon to be set up by some key business leaders.

At a breakout session, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen, S.C. said with its ample experience and extensive pool of experts in offering international legal and dispute resolution services, Hong Kong is an ideal platform for resolving infrastructure disputes in the Belt and Road context. The laws related to dispute resolution have been constantly updated to meet the needs of the end-users and the international best practice. The arbitral awards made in Hong Kong are enforceable in over 150 jurisdictions.    

Opportunities abound for 21st maritime silk road

Addressing a maritime forum (Sep 13) in London, Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said with a diverse base of professionals providing upstream and downstream services, and sea-cargo operations with 45 countries along the Belt and Road corridors, Hong Kong stands to serve as a “super-connector” facilitating trade and capital flows amongst China and the rest of the world, especially the Belt and Road economies. Profits tax has been exempted for international shipping, he said, and maritime service providers enjoy national treatment when they access the Mainland market under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement.

Trade agreement

Hong Kong to sign ASEAN free trade pact in November

Hong Kong and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are all set to sign the FTA and a related Investment Agreement at the 31st ASEAN Summit in the Philippines in November 2017. Secretary Edward Yau said the agreements will bring more and better access to the ASEAN markets and create new business opportunities. They encompass trade in goods and services, economic and technical co-operation, and dispute settlement mechanisms. ASEAN is Hong Kong’s second largest trading partner in merchandise trade. As part of the effort to strengthen economic cooperation, Hong Kong will contribute US$3.2 million to implement the Economic and Technical Cooperation Work Program over five years.

FinTech

Calls for FinTech investors and startups

Hong Kong, given its strengths – stability, opportunity and security – is the ideal place for the FinTech sector investment, said Director of HKETONY Joanne Chu when she addressed the opening of an InvestHK forum in Chicago (Sep 11). In her first speaking engagement in the Windy City, she highlighted Hong Kong’s business-friendly environment and business opportunities for Chicago firms under the Belt and Road Initiative and in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area.

Head of FinTech of InvestHK Charles d’Haussy spoke on Hong Kong’s thriving FinTech ecosystem and the city’s role as a “superconnector” to Mainland China and beyond. The attendees, about 40 business executives, were interested in how to set up startups in Hong Kong; and in government support programs such as the IT Venture Fund.

FinTech Week to set the stage for global business

The second annual Hong Kong FinTech Week (Oct 23-27) will focus on driving forces that shape Hong Kong as a global FinTech hub, including its strength as a fund-raising hub, its active application of blockchain and artificial intelligence, the vibrant incubator and accelerator programs, and the close connection with Mainland China under the Belt and Road Initiative, and cyber security. Director-General of Investment Promotion of InvestHK Stephen Phillips pointed out that FinTech in Hong Kong is an organic ecosystem largely driven by the private sector with about 130 startups and four accelerators.

Creative industry

Summit explores sustainable fashion 

The two-day summit (Sep 7-8) with the theme of “Zero Impact” has brought together government officials, world-renowned academics, industry players of various disciplines and non-governmental organisations to explore viable options and solutions to minimise negative impact on the environment while fostering the sustainable development of the fashion industry. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung said that the government hopes to nurture fashion startups that can contribute to the sustainable development of Hong Kong. Hosted by Hong Kong Trade Development Council and CreateHK, the summit featured speakers from fashion brands that had participated in the low-carbon programs, such as H&M, Gap and Kering.

HKETONY News

Director promotes trade in first visit to Atlanta

Director Joanne Chu met with Chief Operating Officer of the Georgia Department of Economic Development Bert Brantley during her first duty visit to the Peach State (Sep 8). Aside from discussing areas for mutual cooperation, especially in FinTech, Ms Chu highlighted business opportunities that Hong Kong offers to US companies under the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area. Also present at the meeting were Deputy Commissioner of International Relations Abby Turano and Deputy Director for International Trade Dawn Townsend. Ms Chu also met with Senior Director of Foreign Investment John Woodward at the Metro Atlanta Chamber and exchanged views on how to strengthen ties between the two cities.

Atlanta celebrates dragon boat tradition

Paddlers rowing in tandem in colorful dragon boats took to the waters at the Lake Lanier Olympic site. A total of 80 dragon boat teams from across Southeast USA went head-to-head, competing for top prizes at the 22nd Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Atlanta (Sep 9).  Officiating at the festival for the first time, Director Joanne Chu congratulated the organizer on the successful festival, which saw over 8,000 spectators and visitors cheer on their teams and enjoy the multi-cultural performances. As part of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR, visitors to the festival took home special 20A souvenirs and tattoos from the HKETONY's festival booth.

Rankings

World’s top financial centers

Hong Kong has moved ahead into third place in the latest Global Financial Centres Index 22, narrowing the gap with second place New York. London retains its position as the world's leading financial center. The Z/Yen Group’s Global Financial Centre Index 22 report, published in collaboration with the China Development Institute, ranks 92 cities based on 23,000 assessments collected from over 3,100 financial services professionals, as well as indices from organizations such as the World Bank, The Economist Intelligence Unit, the OECD, and the United Nations. 

Education

Universities among world’s best

Three universities in Hong Kong are ranked among the world’s top 100, according to the latest World Universities Ranking. The University of Hong Kong achieves its best ranking since 2014, rising three places to 40th. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology was ranked 49th while Chinese University of Hong Kong placed 58th. The ranking is based on performance in teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

Basic Law

Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems.”

Q: Is Hong Kong still an easy place to visit for tourists or international business people?

A: Yes, very much so. Hong Kong has autonomy in immigration control. It maintains its own immigration laws and procedures and has a very liberal visa policy. As of September 2014, 151 countries or territories have granted visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to HKSAR passport holders. (BL Articles 154; 155)

Hong Kong Basic Law

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