The Chamber’s Annual General Meeting last month provided an opportunity to look back on our achievements of the past year, and also to consider how we can better serve our members as we move into the next. And what a year it has been. The pandemic has obviously been the defining feature, and we have pulled out all the stops to help members get through this extraordinary period.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been extremely challenging for the whole business community in Hong Kong. We have been busy lobbying on your behalf to ensure that the Government hears your concerns, and we are pleased that they have listened to us and rolled out targeted support for businesses, especially SMEs.
At the Chamber, we have also had to make significant adjustments to our services, notably moving many of our events from in-person to webinars. Despite the huge disruption caused by the pandemic, we have continued to host a busy schedule of informative events, seminars and committee meetings.
As it turns out, there have been some silver linings from this change. Moving online has enabled us to invite speakers from around the world, such as Robert Zoellick, Senior Counselor at Brunswick and former World Bank Chairman, who spoke to us from the United States. We have also recently hosted experts and entrepreneurs from as far afield as Spain, Indonesia and Africa.
Many members have told us that they enjoy the convenience of the online format, and that they hope we will continue to offer this option even when in-person events return.
This switch to online was certainly a learning curve for us, and we know that many of our members have also been undergoing a similar process. To help companies cope with the transition, we organized a number of webinars on different aspects of digital transformation including online marketing, e-commerce and digital payments.
We have helped members access the information they need to take advantage of the measures the Government has rolled out, including the Employment Support Scheme and SME Loan Guarantee Schemes, and continue to hold useful webinars, such as those helping members generate business from the E-Voucher scheme.
We have certainly been busy. And I’m pleased to say that new recruits to HKGCC actually grew in 2020, compared to the previous year. We welcome these new members to the Chamber family and are pleased to be able to support them during such a challenging time.
Around the world, successful vaccination programmes are currently enabling some economies to return to relative normal, while in others, new Covid variants are still spreading. We are keenly aware that the war is not yet won against this virus.
We will continue to stay vigilant in protecting the health of Hong Kong citizens, while working tirelessly on our members’ behalf to help the business community adapt to the ever-changing new normal.