U.S. Companies Expect Challenges in China, but Remain Optimistic
Lance Yau, Business Advisory Services Manager for the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC), provided an insightful update at the Americas Committee meeting on 12 January on the business sentiment of U.S. companies doing business with Mainland China.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, 63% of companies polled in USCBC’s survey last year said profitability had increased in 2022 over 2021. However, more companies (21%) were pessimistic about doing business in China in the coming five years, compared to 2021 (9%), due to geopolitics (73%) followed by the regulatory environment (66%).
Despite the challenges, Yau said he remained confident that the China market would continue to offer a lot of potential for U.S. companies. He said if companies were unable to participate in the China market, they would be at a global disadvantage compared to competitors active in the country.
Asia & Africa Committee
Levelling Up Ties with Saudi Arabia
The Asia & Africa Committee welcomed a delegation of senior business leaders from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to the Chamber on 13 January. HKGCC CEO George Leung, together with Asia & Africa Committee Chairman Jonathan Lamport, and Vice Chairmen Andrew Wells and Dewan Saiful Alam, welcomed the visitors.
Riyadh Al Zamil, Board Member of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said Saudi Arabia was the world’s fastest-growing major economy in 2022, with a growth rate of 8%. He said this was partly due to the new mindset in the government, which has brought about a culture of rapid change to fulfill Saudi Vision 2030. In addition to supporting the private sector with initiatives and policies to propel growth, it has also revised many of its commercial laws based on lessons learned over past years.
As a result, many exciting megaprojects were underway in the Kingdom, such as the revolutionary 100-mile smart mega-city NEOM and the mega-tourism development Red Sea Project. Many Mainland businesses were reaping the benefits of engaging closely with Saudi Arabia, and he urged Hong Kong companies to also capitalize on this new era of growth. Both sides agreed to develop Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia relations to help businesses conduct more trade, investment, cultural and tourism exchanges.
Exploring Hong Kong-India Collaboration
Satwant Khanalia, Consul General of India, and Consuls Priyanka Mehtani and Renjina Mary Varghese met Asia & Africa Committee Chairman Jonathan Lamport and Vice Chairmen Andrew Wells and Dewan Saiful Alam on 18 January.
Khanalia said that as Hong Kong had reopened its borders, she had been helping Indian delegations arrange trips, with numerous groups expected to visit in April. Speaking about India’s sectors of growth, she said there were many opportunities in gems and jewellery, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, handicrafts, and renewable energy.
In particular, the country’s pharmaceuticals industry has been booming in the past decade, with exciting developments and new players emerging in areas such as vaccines, generic medicine, medical equipment and advanced biotechnology.
Fostering Closer Ties with UAE
Shaikh Saoud Ali Almualla, Consul General of the United Arab Emirates, called on the Chamber on 18 January and met with CEO George Leung, Asia & Africa Committee Chairman Jonathan Lamport and Vice Chairmen Andrew Wells and Dewan Saiful Alam. He was accompanied by Economic Analyst Dr Ahmed Albeshlawy and Media Researcher Sofia Choi. Almualla said he was delighted that China-UAE relations were making great strides in recent years.
He added that Hong Kong and the UAE were similar in that they both were important re-export hubs for their respective regions, and his country was looking forward to receiving the Hong Kong delegation in February. Both sides agreed to organize more knowledge-based events and cultural get-togethers to foster closer ties between Hong Kong and UAE.