HONG KONG, May 18 – Hong Kong hosted the inaugural Belt and Road Summit today to explore business opportunities presented to the world by the Belt and Road Initiative. Held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, more than 20 senior government ministers from countries located along the Belt and Road routes as well as business leaders from Hong Kong.
The Chinese mainland, ASEAN and other regions was spoke at the summit, sharing insights from a wide range of the perspectives. The high-level event also welcomed more than 2,400 participants, including investors, project owners and services professionals.
The Belt and Road Summit was organised by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG), supported by the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Commerce, and the People’s Bank of China, in association with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).
HKTDC Chairman Vincent HS Lo and Chief Executive of Hong Kong the Hon CY Leung spoke at the opening ceremony. Zhang Dejiang, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China, delivered a keynote speech in the morning session.
He shared insights into the opportunities brought about by the Belt and Road Initiative and highlighted Hong Kong’s unique advantages and pivotal role in the Initiative. In his welcoming remarks, Mr Lo said, “The Hong Kong Trade Development Council has been promoting our city as an integrator that brings together governments, capital and expertise to maximise Belt and Road opportunities. In addition to launching a resource portal, supporting today’s summit is another milestone in our work.”
– Key issues cover policy coordination, sector cooperation and ASEAN development –
The summit featured three panel sessions. The first panel, chaired by Laura Cha, Chairman of Hong Kong’s Financial Services Development Council, analysed investment opportunities from the policymakers’ perspective. Speakers included HE Eng Sultan Saeed AlMansoori, Minister of Economy, the United Arab Emirates; HE Ong Ka Chuan, Second Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia; Franky Sibarani, Chairman, Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM); and the Hon Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, HKSAR.
The panellists shared their views on how governments can develop their own policies and work with other countries to facilitate cooperation. Enhancing cross-sector connectivity among economies along the Belt and Road is a major goal of the Initiative. Addressing this topic, the second panel presented influential business leaders offering their insights into closer cooperation between different sectors within the Belt and Road framework.
Speakers included Dr Victor Fung, Group Chairman, Fung Group (Panel Chair); HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DP World; Douglas Flint, Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plc; Dr DJ Pandian, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; Lin Jingzhen, Deputy Chief Executive, Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited; and Professor the Hon KC Chan, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, HKSAR.
The final panel examined the importance of closer business partnerships and the crucial role of ASEAN in the Belt and Road Initiative. The panel was chaired by Kevin Sneader, Chairman, Asia, McKinsey & Company and featured ASEAN business elites, including, Narong Chearavanont, Vice Chairman, Charoen Pokphand Group; Suryo Bambang Sulisto, Chairman, KADIN Indonesia Honorary Council and Founder, PT Satmarindo Group; Teresita Sy-Coson, Vice Chairperson, SM Investments Corporation; Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeoh Sock Ping, Managing Director, YTL Group; and Dr Jonathan Choi, Chairman, Sunwah Group.
– Silk Road fund and investment opportunities –
During the Keynote Luncheon, the Hon John Tsang, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR, delivered opening remarks and Han Weiqiang, Chairman of the Supervisory Committee of China International Capital Corporation Limited, introduced the keynote speaker Jin Qi, Chairman of the Silk Road Fund.
The US$40 billion Silk Road Fund was established to help finance the Belt and Road Initiative, mainly in infrastructure and resources, as well as projects related to industrial and financial cooperation. Ms Jin said that Hong Kong can facilitate communications and connections among Belt and Road countries, and can provide an ideal platform for financing and asset management.
At the Dialogue on “The Way Forward”, HKTDC Chairman Mr Lo shared the stage with Wang Zhan, President of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and Executive Vice President of Yangtze Council. The dialogue delved more deeply into the next steps for the Initiative and explored how businesses can plan strategically to prepare themselves for the Belt and Road opportunities ahead. During the Dialogue, Chen Dongsheng, President of China Entrepreneurs Forum announced the setting up of a Belt and Road fund in Hong Kong to capitalise on the opportunities.
– Tangible steps towards marketising the Belt and Road –
Apart from insights and knowledge, the summit offered opportunities for effective networking and business matching through its Business Matching Workshops, exhibition and infrastructure display while a side-trip to some of the mainland’s Free Trade Zones is scheduled tomorrow. The workshops, under the themes of infrastructure, urbanisation and utilities, gathered investors, project owners and services professionals to build business partnerships through networking and business matching.
An exhibition was also staged, with 27 Hong Kong services providers showcasing their expertise in banking and financial services, infrastructural development and professional services. At the Global Investment Zone, 10 countries introduced their investment projects to international investors.
In collaboration with the Association of Architectural Practices (AAP) and Association of Consulting Engineers of Hong Kong (ACEHK), the HKTDC mounted a signature display of around 145 infrastructure projects in Hong Kong, showcasing the city’s infrastructure and real estate-related services.
Tomorrow (19 May), the HKTDC will organise a full-day business trip to Shenzhen and Qianhai for participants to learn about the latest plans and developments for these Free Trade Zones on the mainland. The Qianhai-Shekou Area in Shenzhen is slated to play a crucial role under the Belt and Road Initiative, providing a strategic platform for cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong in a range of professional services.
The Belt and Road Summit received valuable support from more than 30 global business leaders who served as the event’s honorary advisors. The event also featured China International Capital Corporation Limited as Strategic Partner and Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited as Diamond Sponsor.