Technology, Finance, Food and China Opportunities Spotlighted
11 June 2015 – More than 3,300 North American business people attended the large-scale “Think Asia, Think Hong Kong” promotion in Toronto, Canada (8 June) and Chicago, United States (10 June). Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), this week’s events featured more than 150 business leaders from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. They highlighted Hong Kong advantages for Canadian and US companies doing business in Asia.
Guests-of-honour in Chicago were Stefan Selig, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, US Department of Commerce and CY Leung, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR Government.
In his opening address, Mr Selig described Hong Kong as a “partnership engine” for promoting bilateral ties. “That, of course, includes deepening our commercial partnership with China,” said Mr Selig. “Obviously, Hong Kong’s role as a trade and investment partner to the US and as a gateway to China reinforces its ability to deepen that very partnership.”
Mr Leung noted that exports from the US state of Illinois to Hong Kong totalled some US$1 billion in 2014 – up a remarkable 30 per cent over the previous year. “In 2014, about US$49 billion in trade with the Mainland of China from the US side was routed through Hong Kong. That’s about nine per cent of your total trade in goods with the Mainland. And super-connector Hong Kong made it happen,” Mr Leung said.
Also speaking at the opening of the main symposium in Chicago, HKTDC Chairman Vincent HS Lo said Hong Kong and Chicago play similar roles as dynamic and well-connected international cities. “As one global city to another, it is therefore natural that our ties should be strengthened,” Mr Lo said. “And nothing works better than meeting face-to-face when we can exchange information, explore opportunities and connect with each other.”
Mr Lo also mentioned that the “One Belt, One Road”, which refers to China’s strategic concept in facilitating trade, financial, infrastructural and cultural development across 65 nations from Asia to Europe, will offer infinite business possibilities.
Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel was the guest of honour at the Hong Kong Dinner held at the Field Museum of Natural History, following the main business promotion in Chicago.
In addition to the main symposium, “Think Asia, Think Hong Kong” featured thematic sessions on the topics of Selling to China and throughout Asia, Hong Kong: The Gateway for Chinese Outbound Investment, RMB Internationalisation: A New Era for Global Trade and Finance, and Hong Kong – A Base for Technology Companies to Grow Their Asian Business.
High-profile speakers in Chicago included William Daley, Managing Partner and the Head of United States Operations, Argentière Capital AG; Morgan McGrath, Managing Director, Head of International Banking for JP Morgan Chase’s Commercial Bank; Laura Cha, Chairman, Financial Services Development Council, Hong Kong; Benjamin Hung, Regional Chief Executive Officer, Greater China, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited; Chu Gang, Chief Operating Officer, China International Capital Corporation; Ding Chen, Chief Executive Officer, CSOP Asset Management Limited and Chairperson, Chinese Asset Management Association of Hong Kong; Gebhard Rainer, President and Chief Operating Officer, Coach Inc; James Thompson, Chairman, Crown Worldwide Group and Marjorie Yang, Chairman, Esquel Group.
A number of trade missions organised to coincide with “Think Asia, Think Hong Kong” are continuing to connect with entrepreneurs in the US.
They include a Hong Kong Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Mission which continues through 12 June. The mission aims to link Hong Kong ICT companies with their counterparts and tech elites in the US. A Hong Kong Food and Wine Business Mission runs until 13 June to help Hong Kong SMEs tap into the North American market and explore potential collaboration with local counterparts, such as wineries, food processing and packaging companies. Another on-going trade mission is a Hong Kong Technology Business Mission to Chicago, Wisconsin, Maryland, Los Angeles and San Diego (9-21 June).
Meanwhile, investment opportunities are being explored by a Hong Kong-Guangdong Joint Investment and Partnership Mission which focuses on the latest developments in automation, clean manufacturing, renewable energy and energy-efficient technology. This is the fourth time that the HKTDC and Guangdong have joined hands to arrange such a mission.
On 8 June, the “Think Asia, Think Hong Kong” promotion in Toronto ended successfully with nearly 2,000 business leaders from Canada taking part in the main symposium and Hong Kong Dinner.
As well as the main symposiums and thematic sessions at the events in both Toronto and Chicago, a total of more than 1,570 business-matching sessions were organised during “Think Asia, Think Hong Kong” to connect North American entrepreneurs with business partners from Hong Kong and the mainland.