18 August 2015 – The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) held a reception in Singapore yesterday (17 August) to mark the opening of its Singapore Branch Office. More than 400 business people from Hong Kong and Singapore attended the reception. Among the guests were Seah Moon Ming, Chairman of International Enterprise Singapore and Zheng Chao, Minister Counsellor (Economic and Commercial) of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Singapore.
Through the Singapore Branch Office, the HKTDC aims to strengthen support for Hong Kong small- and medium-sized enterprises entering ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) markets.
Other high-profile attendees included Chew Mok Lee, Assistant Chief Executive Director, SPRING Singapore; Ho Meng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Business Federation; Roland Ng, Vice President, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Douglas Foo, President, Singapore Manufacturing Federation; Kurt Wee, President, Association of Small and Medium Enterprises; and Dennis Chiu, President, Hong Kong Singapore Business Association.
Perfect Timing for business expansion
Speaking at the reception, Margaret Fong, Executive Director of the HKTDC, said the upgrading of the Council’s presence in Singapore from a Representative Office to Branch Office was a timely move, given robust economic growth in Asia and ever closer connectivity between economies in the region.
“In this connection, the timing of our Branch Office opening is important for the HKTDC and for Hong Kong’s relationship with our neighbours in this region,” said Ms Fong. “By enhancing our Singapore presence, we will be able to enhance our role as a platform for business promotion in the region and gateway to the Chinese mainland market – creating more opportunities for both the Hong Kong and Singaporean business communities,” Ms Fong added.
New Opportunities along “Belt and Road”
Ms Fong highlighted business and investment opportunities related to the Central Government’s Belt and Road Initiative, comprising the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Silk Road Economic Belt. She said the rolling out of the Belt and Road Initiative would strengthen business, financial and physical connectivity within Asia.
“Being highly competitive, open and vibrant economies along the Belt and Road corridor, both Hong Kong and Singapore have important roles to play in the successful implementation of this initiative; an initiative which will ultimately grow the economic pie larger, not just for our individual economies but for the whole of Asia,” Ms Fong said.
Hong Kong: springboard to China markets
Ms Fong briefly outlined Hong Kong’s competitive advantages, including the city’s proximity to the Chinese mainland and close cross-border business, financial, cultural and linguistic links with the mainland. Hong Kong is also ranked as the world’s freest economy by the United States-based Heritage Foundation and number one in the world for financial market development and infrastructure competitiveness by the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness report 2014-2015.
Strong Trade Ties
Hong Kong and Singapore already enjoy a strong and close trading relationship. Singapore is Hong Kong’s largest trading partner in ASEAN with bilateral trade exceeding US$41.1 billion in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 5.1 per cent. Singapore is also Hong Kong’s ninth largest export market in the world. Last year, Hong Kong’s exports to Singapore rose 2.2 per cent to US$7.7 billion, while imports from Singapore grew 5.8 per cent to US$33.5 billion.
Including Singapore, the HKTDC has 46 offices around the world, among which 24 are in Asia and South Asia. The Council’s presence across Asia and around the world helps to connect international enterprises to partners in Hong Kong and promote Hong Kong’s advantages as a central business district in Asia.