Annual Gathering Focuses on Start-ups, Innovation and Fintech
The latest business opportunities in Asia come into sharp focus at the 19th Hong Kong Forum, which opened today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and runs until tomorrow. Co-organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide (FHKBAW), the event has attracted more than 360 business leaders from 30 countries and regions. Key topics at the 2018 forum include innovation and technology (I&T), the role of start-ups, and the development of fintech.
This year’s forum is attended by representatives from Mainland China as well as Cambodia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. As a newly joined member of the FHKBAW, the Hong Kong-Korea Business Association is taking part in the forum for the first time.
Hong Kong Boosted by New Technologies and Regional Cooperation
Delivering the opening remarks at the forum this morning, HKTDC Executive Director Margaret Fong said that this year’s event takes place at a challenging time amid the Sino-US trade conflict and with rising concern over the stability of the global economy. “At a time of such uncertainty, it is crucial for companies to look further afield for new opportunities,” she said.
Ms Fong noted that the importance of innovation and the huge potential presented by new technologies are currently hot topics in Hong Kong, with I&T made the key focus in the latest Policy Address by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
This year’s Hong Kong forum therefore focuses on I&T, examining cutting-edge technologies in the areas of biotech, artificial intelligence (AI), digital healthcare and fintech. Speakers will discuss how Hong Kong can leverage its advantages to develop into a technology hub, while the creative forces behind some of Hong Kong’s hottest start-ups will share their disruptive ideas that are poised to transform various industries.
Ms Fong also highlighted the business opportunities presented by greater cooperation within the region. “The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Development is set to build a highly competitive, internationally recognised city cluster and provide abundant new opportunities for local and international businesses alike, especially in the areas of technology and innovation,” she said, adding that the free trade agreement and related investment agreement signed between Hong Kong and ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), which will start to take effect next month, will further promote investment and trade between the two sides and enhance the city’s role as a two-way investment and business hub.
Hong Kong: Cutting-edge Technology Hub
Recent years have seen the rapid development of cutting-edge technologies, many of which are now helping to transform various industries. In the first session of the forum, “The Future of Technology: A Look at Hong Kong’s Emerging Technologies”, Dennis Lo, Director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Science and Associate Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, joined Miles Wen, CEO of Fano Labs, and serial entrepreneur Danny Yeung, CEO of Prenetics, to discuss how Hong Kong can ride on its competitive edge to develop into a technology hub.
Professor Lo noted that the HKSAR Government has in recent years given strong support to the development of cutting-edge technologies, investing HK$10 billion in the medical sciences through innovative platforms such as Hong Kong Science Park. He added that Hong Kong is equipped with world-class biotechnology capabilities that have great potential for further development, and he hoped that DNA technology could be made more widely and freely available in Mainland China under the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Development, helping to advance medical technology and benefit more people.
Start-ups Drive Innovation in Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s start-up ecosystem is currently booming. In a session titled “Transformation Underway: Innovative Talents in Hong Kong”, three local start-up entrepreneurs – Eric Gnock Fah, COO and co-founder of Klook, Alan Lam, founder of Concept Infinity Limited, and Norman Cheung, founder of Boxful Technology – shared their game-changing ideas which are helping to disrupt and transform various industries in the city.
Mr Gnock Fah said that with the popularisation of smartphones, the company has launched a mobile app to make it easier for users to access Klook’s services. The company promotes travel innovation and provides quality services for its users by adopting digital technologies and establishing partnerships with different organisations around the world.
Technology Changes the Financial Landscape
Technology is sweeping its way through the world’s financial landscape, including in Hong Kong. Executives from leading corporations, including Ken Lo, CEO of Branding China Group Ltd, Simon Loong, founder and CEO of WeLab, and Jennifer Tan, CEO of Alipay Payment Services (HK) Limited, discussed the disruptive changes that are happening in the industry and the opportunities being brought about by new finance-related technologies.
Guest Speakers Share Valuable Insights
Each year, heavyweight speakers are invited to the forum’s luncheons to share their views and insights. Today’s “Luncheon Dialogue – Journey of a Pianist” featured renowned Chinese pianist Zhang Shengliang (Niu Niu), who as well as giving a piano performance shared his musical journey and detailed his road to success via the Hong Kong platform.
The speaker at the keynote luncheon tomorrow (5 Dec) will be Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR. He will introduce Hong Kong’s latest developments and business policies to participants from around the world. He will also explain how Hong Kong is working to establish closer cooperative relationships with regional partners to capture the opportunities presented by the new global economic order.
Zhuhai and Zhongshan: New Bridge Connects Fast-growing Cities
As a side programme of the forum, Iris Wong, the HKTDC’s Director of Belt and Road and External Relations, will lead a business delegation to Zhuhai and Zhongshan on 6-8 Dec, travelling from Hong Kong on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) to survey the investment environment and development prospects in the two cities. The recently opened bridge has established a new transport link between the east and west banks of the Pearl River, helping to meet the demand for passenger and freight land transport and enhancing the economic and sustainable development of Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau.
The delegation will include more than 60 representatives from chambers of commerce from Belt and Road countries, as well as Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States. The group will meet senior Zhuhai and Zhongshan officials and pay visits to the Guangdong Free Trade Zone (Hengqin), Gree Electric Appliances Inc., Ming Yang Smart Energy Group, and One Point. They will also meet with Hong Kong entrepreneurs with operations in Zhuhai and Zhongshan to explore cooperation opportunities.
The Hong Kong Forum is the annual flagship event of the FHKBAW. Set up in 2000, the Federation has a membership of more than 13,000 businesspeople, with 43 association members from 32 countries and regions.
The HKTDC is holding five events at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this week – the Asian E-tailing Summit (5 Dec), the HKTDC SmartBiz Expo (5-7 Dec), the HKTDC Hong Kong International Franchising Show (5-7 Dec), the Business of IP Asia Forum (6-7 Dec) and DesignInspire (6-8 Dec). These events focus on new technology and cover various stages of the supply chain, including research and development, design, production, sales and marketing. They aim to help small and medium-sized enterprises enhance their competitiveness and cost-effectiveness and develop new business areas and markets to adapt to the ever-changing economic landscape.
Fair Website: https://www.hkfederation.org.hk/hkforum
About the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide
With the help of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide was established in 2000. It is a unique network of 42 Hong Kong Business Associations in 31 countries and regions with over 13,000 individual associates. They are Hong Kong’s closest allies and partners in the world market. The Chief Executives is the Federation’s honorary patron and HKTDC serves as its secretariat. For details, please see http://www.hkfederation.org.hk
Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body dedicated to creating opportunities for Hong Kong’s businesses. With 50 offices globally, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China, Asia and the world. With more than 50 years of experience, the HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to provide companies, particularly SMEs, with business opportunities on the mainland and in international markets, while providing business insights and information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels including the media room. For more information, please visit:www.hktdc.com/aboutus.