One thing that we take great pride in at HKGCC is that we are the most international chamber in Hong Kong. This is not limited to just the ethnicity of our membership. It extends to the four corners of the world that we help our members develop new business. Our recent Belt & Road mission to Ghana and Morocco was the latest undertaking to help businesses explore new opportunities in these booming – yet relatively untapped – economies.
The participants – who hail from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Europe, and the Middle East – told me upon their return that it was a fascinating and also fruitful mission. Not only did they have a number of high-level meetings, including with the Vice President of Ghana, but they also had an extremely busy schedule of business meetings and site visits.
This trip was quite an ambitious one for the Chamber on a number of fronts, but we feel all the hard work that went into planning and executing the mission was well worth the effort.
During the trip, members learnt that the Belt and Road Initiative was a familiar concept in both countries, with Chinese projects already underway. While investment from China was generally welcome, local contacts said language barriers and cultural differences did create some difficulties. Hong Kong companies' vast experience in serving as a bridge between the Mainland and the rest of the world can surely play in our favour in these Belt and Road locations.
While we live in an era of advanced technology, there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings. Members on the mission said they were impressed with the enthusiasm and positivity of the people they met, and that they are actively following up with the contacts that they made during the nine-day trip.
In addition to Ghana and Morocco, this year the Chamber also visited Japan, Korea, Israel and regular missions to various provinces in Mainland China. In addition to meeting new contacts overseas, we also host delegations from around the world who are keen to connect with Hong Kong businesses. These range from Argentina to Zimbabwe.
With the Sino-U.S. trade war, increasing protectionism and domestic unrest impacting businesses, it is important that we venture into new territories. It is not always easy to enter unfamiliar markets, especially for SMEs, but HKGCC can be your first port of call for advice and connections. For businesses ready to step out of their comfort zone and explore fresh opportunities, 2020 could be just the year. At HKGCC will be working hard to help members do so.