Europe Committee members who took part in our latest mission tell me that they had a wonderful time in Austria and the Czech Republic. Not only did they get to spend some time in the beautiful cities of Prague and Vienna, but they also enjoyed a very productive schedule of meetings and visits.
With a population of almost 9 million, Austria has quite a lot in common with Hong Kong. While Hong Kong has long served as a gateway to Mainland China, Austria has performed the same role for the countries of Eastern Europe as they have opened up over the past three decades.
One of the key takeaways from the mission was the high level of awareness of the Belt and Road Initiative. The land-based route of the initiative passes through some of the regions of Eastern Europe that are most in need of infrastructure investment. And it is being welcomed not only in those countries that will benefit, but also in Austria, which can play a connector role and provide key services.
Here in Hong Kong, it is easy for us to understand the importance of the Belt and Road and our role as a super-connector. But it is very heartening to see such interest in the initiative among the business community in Europe.
Further evidence of the strong interest in the Belt and Road was seen here in the Chamber Theatre on 22 June, when more than 200 guests attended our Belt and Road Cocktail Reception, jointly organized by our Asia & Africa and China Committees. We were honoured to host officials, representatives and Consuls General from HKSAR, the Chinese Mainland, and many African and Asian countries.
This shows, I believe, that the Chamber can really play a super-connector role for Hong Kong’s business community. From overseas missions to in-house networking events, HKGCC is able to put our members in direct contact with key officials and businesspeople in the Belt and Road countries and regions.
We are also continuing our Belt and Road Series of seminars, which provide focused insights into key countries along the maritime and land routes of the initiative. Most recently, we hosted a number of senior officials and experts from Myanmar who gave a valuable insight into this rapidly growing economy.
The Belt and Road Initiative is presenting numerous opportunities for businesses to explore new markets around the world. Here at the Chamber we are working to provide our members with crucial information, insights and connections as this landmark project continues to develop.