Belt and Road Corner

Hong Kong: A Key Link in the BRI

With its unique strengths, Hong Kong is well placed to play the role of "super-connector" for the Belt and Road Initiative. Our competitive advantages include preferential access to the massive Mainland market, internationally compatible trade, commercial and legal systems, as well as our strategic location, infrastructure and talent pool.

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Hong Kong's Added Value for the Belt and Road

A Key Link in the Initiative

The Mainland’s reform and opening-up over the past four decades helped power the tremendous transformation and growth of Hong Kong’s economy. Looking ahead to the next 40 years, the Belt and Road Initiative is a new engine that will help drive our continued economic and social development.

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Chamber Belt and Road Talks

A Close Look into China’s Contributions to the Health Silk Road

Prof Yang Jian, Vice President and Senior Fellow in Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS), gave an overview of the latest developments of the Health Silk Road (HSR) and China's work to bridge the global vaccine gap at the Chamber’s Belt and Road Working Group, hosted by Edmond Yue, Co-convenor, on 11 April. He said China had recently pledged to supply an additional 1 billion vaccines to Africa, on top of the 2 billion pledged globally in 2021, to help the continent achieve its goal of vaccinating 60% of the African population by 2022. The country was also working with the international community to promote mutual vaccine recognition.

Also speaking at the meeting, Henry Tillman, Founder of China Investment Research, gave members an in-depth analysis of China's mRNA vaccine development, saying there was hope that one or two mRNA vaccines would be released in late 2022. China was working closely with over 27 developing countries via technology transfer and joint ventures to help them set up factories to produce vaccines locally, among which Indonesia, Pakistan, UAE and Uzbekistan led in number of vaccines produced. He encouraged members to explore investment opportunities in medical infrastructure and pharmaceutical manufacturing along the HSR.
 

Strengthening Ties with Belt and Road Office

We had a constructive meeting with Rex Chang, the new Commissioner of Belt and Road Office on 14 March. He was accompanied by Mary Tsang, Assistant Commissioner of Belt and Road Office and Helen Cheng, Trade Officer of Belt and Road Office, and were welcomed by Chamber CEO George Leung and Belt & Road Working Group Co-Convenors Edmond Yue and Nicholas Ho.

Chang said despite the pandemic, the government's plan for the BRI was to maintain the same momentum and promote Hong Kong's role as a functional platform between the Mainland and the international community. His office had organized a few webinars with ASEAN counties, namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and was planning to organize another session with United Arab Emirates soon, a country with which Hong Kong had seen business ties growing rapidly in the past couple of years.

Apart from connecting Hong Kong to the international market, Chang said it was also important to bring Hong Kong and Mainland businesses together and find synergy. With that in mind, his office was organizing a few events with Mainland authorities to help promote integration of Hong Kong's state-of-the-art professional services sector with projects owners in the Mainland. He added there were many opportunities in green financing to help build a sustainable BRI.

Belt & Road Working Group Meeting

Edmond Yue, Co-convenor of the Belt and Road Working Group, hosted the group’s meeting on 24 September, and welcomed Andre Wheeler, CEO of Wheeler Management Consulting Pty Ltd / Asia Pacific Connex. Wheeler gave members a presentation on the latest developments of the Digital Silk Road (DSR) and its practical applications connecting land and port via non-human interfaces, and extending such connections into cities. New technologies had emerged, he said, to help make logistics seamless and more efficient along the Belt and Road.

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.

Good Reads

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Belt and Road Provides Path to New Opportunities

Strong fundamentals and experience as a bridge between cultures put Hong Kong businesses in a good position

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