We were glad to have Lyna Fong, Director of the Commercial Center of Cambodia, join us at our Asia & Africa Committee meeting on 23 November to update members on Cambodia’s latest business developments. Fong said despite challenges in the global economy, Cambodia’s growth was projected to bounce back to 6% in 2023. The country’s exports had grown by 28% year-on-year, thanks to sectors such as garments and textiles, bicycles, and agriculture performing strongly. Total investment in the country had also skyrocketed by 140%, especially in Special Economic Zones.
She explained that the New Investment Law launched in late 2021 had significantly improved the country’s business environment by guaranteeing investments more protection and compensation against unexpected sociopolitical events, encouraging good competition, providing more freedom in currency exchange and profit repatriation, and additional tax incentives to invest.
The committee also welcomed two new members, Nick Chan, Partner of Squire Patton Boggs, and Marshall Jen, Principal Family Advisor of Edlinked Ltd.
South Africa’s new Consul General to Hong Kong, Mojalefa Mogono, together with Political & Economic Consul Shari Small, visited the Chamber on 18 November where they were welcomed by Asia and Africa Committee Chairman Jonathan Lamport, as well as Vice Chairmen Andrew Wells and Dewan Saiful Alam, to discuss potential collaboration between the two regions.
The Consul General said South Africa and China had long enjoyed a strong and special friendship. For over a decade, China has remained the country’s largest trading partner, while investment from China totaled over US$25 billion in 2021. He added that apart from infrastructure projects, many companies in South Africa were interested in the arts and culture aspect of the Belt and Road Initiative. He encouraged members to look into the country’s growing sectors such as medical equipment and appliances, automotive manufacturing, finance, and tourism.
Both sides agreed to organize more events to keep members abreast of updates on the latest developments and business opportunities in South Africa.
We had a very useful meeting on 16 November with Dalaya Esayiyas, Senior Advisor of the The Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and Land Bank and Development Corporation, Addis Ababa. She explained the purpose and goals of the Chamber, one of which was to improve information flows and perceptions about doing business on the continent, as well as improve investment policies.
HKGCC’s Deputy Chairman Agnes Chan, and Vice Chairmen of the Asia & Africa Committee Edmond Yue, and Dewan Saiful Alam, exchanged ideas, and agreed to collect members’ views about doing business and investing in Africa as a starting point for the Pan African Chamber to address Hong Kong businesses’ questions.
Consul General of Malaysia Mozambican Markam, together with Trade Commissioner Yazrin Syakhairi Mahlan, visited the Chamber on 8 November where they were welcomed by Asia & Africa Committee Chairman Jonathan Lamport, and Vice Chairmen Edmond Yue and Dewan Saiful Alam.
Markam said Malaysian companies were interested in the Greater Bay Area, which offered a plethora of opportunities for foreign investment. Hong Kong played a pivotal role in leading foreign businesses into the Mainland market. With geopolitical tensions on the rise, making connections was essential. He also stressed that Malaysia was a strong advocate for Hong Kong’s bid to join the RCEP.
Looking at investment into the country, Markam said the Malacca port was an important part of the BRI thanks to Malaysia’s close historical ties with China and its strategic location on the map. Malaysia’s rapid developments in ICT, digital economy, industry 4.0, medical tourism and financial services should not be overlooked, he added.
Lamport pointed out that Malaysia was home to a vibrant scene of innovation and technology start-ups, and with the Hong Kong Government banking on the I&T sector to lead the economy, there were many opportunities for companies in both regions to form joint ventures and create exciting new projects.
Murat Kolbaşi, Chairman of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Türkiye (DEİK), together with Dinçer Tatlioğlu, Commercial Attaché at the Consulate General of the Republic of Türkiye, paid a courtesy visit on Asia & Africa Committee Vice Chairman Andrew Wells on 27 Oct to introduce the latest economic developments in Türkiye and explore cooperation opportunities with Hong Kong.
Kolbaşi said Türkiye was a manufacturing powerhouse in Europe thanks to its unique role as a bridge between Asia and Europe, its connectivity with major markets in the region, and the low Turkish Lira benefiting exports. He said investments from China in the country had increased significantly since ICBC’s acquisition of the Turkish bank Tekstilbank in 2015.
He added that geopolitical tensions had disrupted the country’s traditional supply chains and therefore part of his duties at DEİK and the Türkiye-Asia Pacific Business Councils was to explore and promote new routes and markets for Turkish trade. He added there had been a lot of interest and exciting developments in “West to East” trade between Türkiye and the Asia Pacific, especially China.
It was a full house for HKGCC’s and the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce’s (INACHAMHK) joint happy hour on 6 October at Tai Kwun. Asia & Africa Committee Chairman Jonathan Lamport and Director of INACHAMHK Tony Ho welcomed members from both chambers as well as representatives from the Indonesian Consulate General, including Consul Ayu Wulan Sagita, who spoke about the upcoming Trade Expo to be held in late October in Indonesia.
Members from both chambers took the opportunity to make new connections and catch up on the latest developments of Hong Kong-Indonesia business, all the while enjoying canapés and free-flowing drinks.
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Yazrin Syakhairi Mahlan, the new Trade Commissioner of the Consulate-General of Malaysia, paid a courtesy visit on Asia and Africa Committee Chairman Jonathan Lamport on 27 September. Yazrin introduced Malaysia’s potential growth in sectors such as sustainability, digitalization and trade, and said that the country was a strong supporter of the Belt and Road Initiative.
As Hong Kong was gradually easing social distancing and quarantine rules, both sides expressed their wishes for more face-to-face activities visits to help businesses better understand the rapidly growing Malaysia market and to strengthen connections between the regions.
The HKTDC 5th Belt & Road Global Forum Annual Roundtable was held on 2 September with the theme “Charting a Sustainable and Robust Path to Opportunities in a New Era”. Nicholas Ho and Edmond Yue, Co-Convenors of the Belt and Road Working Group, attended the forum.
Ho, as a member of the panel, discussed the latest green developments along the BRI, as well as how businesses can build resilient supply chains amid global disruptions and how to mitigate operational risks under the "new normal".
Nigeria is home to over 200 million people and represents a huge consumer market with a bright future. Speaking at the Chamber’s webinar on Nigeria on 30 August, Consul General of Nigeria Adeyemi Adebayo Emmanuel said the country was blessed with vast natural resources and welcomed investment in a wide range of industries such as real estate, infrastructure, agriculture, textiles, and communications.
Cui Yi, Representative of Enyimba Economic City’s China office, said the EEC will be the hub for business innovation in Nigeria. In particular, he highlighted the EEC’s product showroom and duty-free warehousing services, and added that a number of Chinese suppliers in FMCG, construction materials, textile, plastics and F&B had already set foot on the leading e-commerce platforms in Africa, Jumia and Konga.
Also speaking at the event, Andy Wang from First Bank of Nigeria, said Nigeria’s ideal geographic location and membership in AfCFTA and ECOWAS meant it was an ideal springboard to the whole continent and its enormous consumer market.
Consul General of Singapore Ong Siew Gay called on Chamber Chairman Betty Yuen today to discuss ways that Hong Kong and Singapore can work more closely together. Both sides discussed the impact of the pandemic on the economy and talent shortages and explored ways to strengthen cooperation and partnerships between business communities in Singapore and Hong Kong.
The Consul General also presented the Chamber with a drawing of Singapore’s solar-powered “Supertrees” at the city’s Marina Bay and invited the Chamber to visit Singapore to explore business-to-business collaboration.