Asia & Africa CommitteeIncoming Visitors


JETRO visits the Chamber

Tomohiro Takashima, Director General of JETRO Hong Kong, accompanied by Deputy Director General Toshiaki Wakabayashi and Supervisor of Business Development Department Kelly Li, paid a courtesy visit to the Chamber on 13 August. They met with Chamber’s Asia and Africa Committee Chairman Jonathan Lamport and PR & Programs Director Malcolm Ainsworth.

The two sides discussed the impact of Covid-19 on trade between the two regions. Takashima said that the import of sake skyrocketed by 60% in 2020 mainly due to e-commerce, and he noticed that Japanese companies had started to place more importance on the Hong Kong domestic market with the likes of Donki and AEON opening new branches and bringing in new products. Takashima said according to their recent survey, the main challenge for Japanese companies doing business in Hong Kong was in acquiring new customers. Lamport suggested Japanese companies should look into bringing Japan’s advanced and mature elderly products and services to Hong Kong as Hong Kong’s elderly market had a lot of room to grow, and local spending power was high.

Both sides expressed hopes of opening borders as soon as possible so Hong Kong and Japan can resume normal business activities. 


Fostering Ties with Australia

Shannon Powell, Senior Trade & Investment Commissioner and Deputy Consul General of Australia in Hong Kong, accompanied by Investment Manager Catherine Dai, paid a courtesy visit to the Chamber on 29 July. They met with Chamber CEO George Leung and PR & Programs Director Malcolm Ainsworth, and discussed ways to collaborate with the Chamber and foster bilateral relations.

Powell explained that Australia was Hong Kong’s seventh largest trade partner in services, and said that there were opportunities in digital technology, biotech, tourism, renewable energy, circular economy and advanced manufacturing. She added that green technology and biotech were the two areas likely to be most relevant to Hong Kong investors, and said that the Consulate was already working with some Hong Kong companies to help them enter the Australian market.

The two sides also discussed Hong Kong’s role as a regional and international logistics centre, as well as the impact of the pandemic on the logistics sector and trade fairs. They agreed to organize information sessions and meetings to help members learn more about the business opportunities in Australia, as well as the different laws, regulations and tax regimes across provinces.


Belt and Road Working Group Meeting

Edmond Yue, Co-convenor of the Belt and Road Working Group, hosted the group’s meeting on 15 June, and welcomed Pham Binh Dam, Consul General of Vietnam in Hong Kong. The Consul General updated members on the latest developments in the country and business opportunities under the Belt and Road initiative. With a huge population of over 100 million, Vietnam possesses a skilled, educated and diligent workforce ready to work hard and adapt to new challenges, he told members attending the meeting. 

Many Vietnam businesses are interested in the Belt and Road and other Chinese initiatives such as the Greater Bay Area. However, Pham said, they did not have much knowledge about such initiatives, and it was hard to find an entrance point to the Mainland markets. The same applied to Hong Kong businesses looking to invest in Vietnam’s rapidly growing economy, where they would often find themselves facing vastly different business culture and rules and regulations. 

He said that although there had been a 40% growth in trade between Hong Kong and Vietnam in the first quarter, the flow of capital investment was limited due to global uncertainty and lack of mutual market insight. He suggested that the Chamber organizes a few sessions about potential investment projects and mergers and acquisitions opportunities in Vietnam.

Pham added that Hong Kong investors should keep an eye on sectors such as e-commerce, infrastructure, finance, and hospitality and tourism, where huge opportunities were emerging. On the hospitality side, for example, he said many luxury hotels along the country’s 3,000-km coastline were up for sale for a lowered price due to the pandemic, which could be lucrative after renovations and branding. He said Vietnam’s e-commerce sector had also developed in leaps and bounds in the past few years – in fact, he said, e-commerce was even more developed than in Hong Kong as almost everything in Vietnam could already be done online.

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