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Hong Kong Digest

April 1, 2024

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Business and finance executives had a busy week in Hong Kong attending a series of top-tier conferences taking place in the city, including the inaugural One Earth Summit; the Global Investors’ Symposium (Mar 26) organised by the Milken Institute and the Wealth for Good in Hong Kong Summit (WGHK) exclusively for family offices (Mar 27). 

One Earth Summit

More than 1,000 leaders and changemakers took part in the One Earth Summit to discuss the path forward to address global sustainability challenges. Hong Kong issued a vision statement on developing the city’s sustainability disclosure ecosystem at the Summit. Speaking at the Summit (Mar 25), Chief Executive John Lee said Hong Kong’s robust financial infrastructure, together with the rule of law, a market-oriented and internationalised business environment, internationally aligned regulatory regimes, and the free and unfettered flow of information, people and capital, together with the city’s fast-rising prowess as an innovation and technology center, make Hong Kong the ideal nexus for building partnerships, for driving the innovative solutions the world needs to promote sustainability.


Also during the Summit, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government issued (Mar 25) a vision statement on developing Hong Kong’s sustainability disclosure ecosystem. Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui said accurate information is an essential element in facilitating green and sustainable financial services. This will help Hong Kong stay abreast of international trends in green and sustainable finance and accelerate its progress towards becoming an international green finance center. 

Milken Institute Global Investors' Symposium

Delivering remarks at Milken Institute Global Investors’ Symposium (March 26), Financial Secretary Paul Chan highlighted the areas key to Hong Kong’s continued growth as an international financial center, pointing out that these topics will continue to shape the global business and financial agenda, and Hong Kong will continue to strengthen its "super connector" and "super value-adder" roles in "Bridging Global Markets". 

Wealth for Good in Hong Kong Summit

Under the theme “Growing with certainty amid growing uncertainty”, the second edition of the WGHK, drew over 400 influential decision makers from global family offices and their professional teams from across the globe. It underscored Hong Kong's status as a premier international hub for global family offices and asset owners. It also demonstrated how Hong Kong, with its state-of-the-art infrastructure and business-friendly environment, is staying at the forefront of the family office and asset management industry.


The Summit concluded (Mar 27) with the launch of “Impact Link”, a philanthropic initiative helping family offices and asset owners to make informed decisions on charity projects. Announcing the launch during the event’s gala dinner, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said it is a charity project depository under the Academy for Wealth Legacy that will connect donors and charity projects with an initial emphasis on healthcare, early biotech research, poverty alleviation and youth empowerment. 


Crowds return to Hong Kong art fairs

Art collectors, critics and enthusiasts from Hong Kong and around the world returned with great zeal to this year’s Art March, signature by Art Basel Hong Kong (Mar 28 – 30) and Art Central Hong Kong (Mar 27 - 31).  This year’s Art Basel, back to its pre-pandemic scale, saw the participation of 242 leading galleries from around the world and welcomed over 75,000 visitors. The fair, showcasing the cultural dynamism of Hong Kong, featured an expanded, free public program in collaboration with the city’s world-class institutions, including M+ and Tai Kwun, as well as non-profit art spaces such as Para Site and Asia Art Archive. Throughout the fair, galleries reported significant sales of works by artists across all market segments, geographies, and media. Art Central Hong Kong, showcasing the next generation of talent from Asia, returned to the city’s iconic Central Harbourfront, with a total of 98 galleries exhibiting and featuring talks and tours along with creative performances. 

Inaugural international cultural summit forges new partnerships

More than 2,000 delegates from around the world attended the inaugural Hong Kong International Cultural Summit 2024 (Mar 24-26), hosted by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA). Eminent cultural leaders and experts shared their insights on a wide range of topics, from the contributions of cultural districts to social and economic transformation, the impact and challenges of digital technology on museums to post–pandemic cultural exchanges. At the Summit, the WKCDA signed 21 memorandum of understandings (MOUs) with the world’s top museums, art conservation and research institutes, art centers, film archives, theatres and theatre associations from 11 countries, including the United States. The MOUs cover diverse areas of cooperation spanning co-production and touring of exhibitions, collection sharing, partnerships on conservation, digitalization and scientific research, as well as educational and exchange programs for art administrators and artists. The Summit attracted over 420,000 views from various global livestreaming platforms. 

Renowned contemporary artist Xu Bing named Ambassador for Cultural Promotion

Renowned Chinese contemporary artist Xu Bing has been appointed as Ambassador for Cultural Promotion for about five years effective Mar 28. As Ambassador for Cultural Promotion, he will initiate a series of large-scale art projects in Hong Kong and nurture young talent to promote cultural development. He is widely recognised as one of the most innovative and influential Chinese contemporary artists. Speaking at the appointment ceremony, he shared his profound appreciation for Hong Kong’s cultural and artistic characteristics, as well as his vision for the city’s cultural development. He highlighted the significance of the East-meets-West cultural blend, which strongly resonates with his own artistic philosophy. 


Hong Kong ranks 4th in global finance index 

Hong Kong maintained fourth place in the Global Financial Centres Index 35 Report published (Mar 21) by the United Kingdom’s Z/Yen and the China Development Institute from Shenzhen. A HKSAR Government spokesman said under the “one country, two systems” principle, Hong Kong enjoys the unique advantages of being backed by the motherland and connected to the world. To this end, a series of policy initiatives have been announced in the 2024-25 Budget, seeking to better integrate ‘capable government’ with ‘efficient market’ and to propel the city’s financial markets to new heights. These policy measures include enhancing the development of Hong Kong’s offshore Renminbi market; working with Mainland authorities to accelerate work relating to promoting mutual market access; and through waiving the stamp duties payable on the transfer of real estate investment trust units and enhancing the preferential tax regimes for related funds, single family offices and carried interest etc. to continue to promote Hong Kong as the preferred asset and wealth management hub for international investors.


Opportunities in Hong Kong highlighted in Philadelphia

Government officials and leaders from the business, legal, nonprofit, and innovation and technology sectors of Philadelphia learned more about the latest developments of Hong Kong at a luncheon hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York (HKETONY) (Mar 19). Speaking at the event, the Director of HKETONY Maisie Ho highlighted the exciting opportunities across various sectors in Hong Kong, especially in biotech, health tech, arts and culture. While in Philadelphia, the director also met with representatives from the University of Pennsylvania, including Associate Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Amy Gadsden and Executive Director of Penn Abroad Kristyn Palmiotto, to explore academic and research collaborations and introduce the talent admission programs and career opportunities in Hong Kong. In the evening, Ms Ho attended a cocktail reception hosted by the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia.


HKSAR Government rejects US report

The HKSAR Government said it strongly disapproves of and rejects untruthful remarks, slanders and smears made against Hong Kong in the 2024 Hong Kong Policy Act Report, published by the US, and in an accompanying statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The HKSAR Government stressed that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China, adding that as a local administrative region that enjoys a high degree of autonomy under the principle of “one country, two systems”, it comes directly under the jurisdiction of the Central People’s Government. The implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law in June 2020, has enabled economic activity to return to normalcy for the Hong Kong community. The HKSAR Government highlighted that law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong take actions that are based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law in respect of acts committed by people or entities, paying no regard to their political stance, background or occupation.

Did you know...

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). It provides the guarantees to maintain our existing way of life, including socio-economic development, the rights and duties of Hong Kong people, the rule of law and other areas. The Basic Law was put into effect on July 1, 1997.

Q: Will the new law on national security effected in Hong Kong create an increased risk for my business activities?

A: No.  The offences under the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance have been clearly defined to ensure that legitimate day-to-day commercial activities and international exchanges do not constitute an offence. To be constituted an offence, the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there is both “intention” and “action” of endangering national security. Appropriate exemptions and defences are provided to ensure that an innocent person will not unwittingly be prosecuted under the law. As a matter of fact, the long-overdued legislation will set to provide a better business environment for businesses operating in Hong Kong. 

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