Many things have changed in Hong Kong since the Chamber was founded, but our mission today remains true to our aims of 160 years ago: to protect the interests of the business community, provide information on matters of interest, and to facilitate business transactions.
Another thing that has remained constant is the importance of our members’ input. Back in 1863, Chairman James McAndrew noted that the General Committee was “anxious to ascertain the views of members on topics of mercantile interest.”
We continue to believe that the Chamber’s strength depends on our membership, which ranges from youthful start-ups to multinational firms. Today, just like in 1863, we welcome your input which we are eager to hear through our committees and regular surveys. This allows us to fully understand the key concerns of businesses so that we can communicate these to the Government and shape policy formation as well as improve the overall business environment.
MacAndrew’s comments also led to the setting up of the Chamber’s committee structure, which has evolved over the decades to reflect the city’s changing business needs. In 1921, for example, we had committees for the key sectors of shipping and legal, and also for “metal and sundries” and “piece goods.” We now have more than 20 committees and working groups, as well as our Young Executives and Women Executives Clubs, whose meetings and events feature excellent speakers with deep industry knowledge.
The contribution of our members is also essential in helping us keep you all up-to-date with new business opportunities, regulatory changes and industry developments – through our events, publications and online. The Bulletin magazine was first published in 1962, but we started publishing fortnightly bulletins about market and price information a century earlier.
Manpower is a key issue for business success, and we have long been helping members train their staff. We set up an evening school in 1951, and today, we offer courses that range from leadership development to digital marketing, as well as industry–focused seminars. These are open to all employees of our member companies, so we encourage you and your staff to take advantage of these opportunities to enhance your professional skills.
Looking to the future, we are increasing our efforts to inspire the younger generations. Our Business School Partnership Programme celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and we are very grateful to our members for making this scheme such a success by giving high-schoolers a taste of the business world.
Another programme is the Business Case Competition for students and recent graduates. At the finals of the second edition earlier this year, we were impressed by the bright ideas and hard work of the entrants. These business stars of tomorrow provided plenty of reasons to be optimistic about Hong Kong’s status as the world’s business city as we plan for the decades ahead.