Chairman's Message
Chairman's Message - Hong Kong Businesses Can Actively Participate in “One Belt and One Road” Construction

Dr Charles YEUNG (Chairman of the 48th, 49th terms of office) July 2016


Direct participation may not be possible, businesses can draw on Hong Kong’s strengths as an international financial center to provide a wide range of investment and financing services for the infrastructure projects along the “One Belt and One Road”.


With the country’s gradual construction of the “One Belt and One Road” driving regional economies towards deeper cooperation, the business community will also see unprecedented opportunities. Hong Kong businesses should leverage their nimbleness and high efficiency to capitalize on the unique strengths of Hong Kong’s professional services, participating in areas such as finance, professional management and support in particular. The Chamber will work closely with the HKSAR Government and relevant agencies to give appropriate support for businesses to tap the “One Belt and One Road” market.


Capitalizing on the unique strengths of financial and professional services

The “One Belt and One Road” involves more than 60 countries which are in different stages of economic development. Naturally, promoting regional and inter-regional large-scale infrastructure construction has become the key to connect and open up the “One Belt and One Road” market. Many people pointed out that as Hong Kong’s economy is dominated by SMEs, it is difficult for them to participate in large-scale infrastructure projects. Nevertheless, we believe that while direct participation may not be possible, businesses can draw on Hong Kong’s strengths as an international financial centre to provide a wide range of investment and financing services for the infrastructure projects along the “One Belt and One Road”.


Hong Kong is currently the largest offshore RMB centre and it was the world’s largest market in terms of funds raised via IPO last year. Hong Kong’s financial institutions are highly reputable in bond issuance, IPO financing, and asset and wealth management services. We believe that combining Hong Kong’s advantages and the strengths of its financial sector will effectively promote Hong Kong as an important platform for infrastructure investment and financing, and, in the long run, will establish a new circulation mechanism for Hong Kong’s offshore RMB operations. We believe that the Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office (IFFO), which will be established by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority shortly, can more systematically seek investment and financing opportunities for the financial sector, industrial and commercial enterprises, and investors in the future. We also look forward to Hong Kong successfully joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and setting up a regional financial operations and management centre in order to provide professional and highly efficient investment, financing and management services to the “One Belt and One Road” countries.


Besides financial services, Hong Kong has also attained world-class standards in professional services such as building surveying, engineering design and project management. Many Hong Kong businesses have overseas experience in engineering management, technical support and consultancy. Hong Kong’s management model for large-scale transportation is also widely recognised by the international community; for example, the MTR’s external railway construction and management services are highly reputable, and Hong Kong is a global leader in terms of port and airport operations management standards. Hong Kong businesses unequivocally can provide high-quality professional services when participating in the management, supervision and support of “One Belt and One Road” infrastructure projects.


On the other hand, because Hong Kong has a sound legal system and its lawyers are familiar with both common law and civil law systems, they are able to provide appropriate legal support and arbitration services to the Mainland and other “One Belt and One Road” countries. At a forum hosted by the Chamber recently, Elsie Leung, Deputy Director of the HKSAR Basic Law Committee, pointed out that Hong Kong can leverage its unique strengths in legal services to serve as a centre for resolution of commercial contract disputes and legal disputes; it can also drive the nurturing of more international law talents in preparation for providing “One Belt and One Road-related” legal services.


Providing information and assistance to businesses

While the “One Belt and One Road” has huge market potential, businesses are relatively unfamiliar with some of the markets along the “One Belt and One Road”. Therefore, the Chamber can use its networking channels to help them understand the markets and strengthen cooperation. Indeed, the Chamber has been regularly organizing visits and seminars to discuss domestic and overseas economic and trade situations and the latest developments in the markets. We will continue to strengthen ties with the HKTDC, CCPIT and various industry associations to help businesses deal with any issues that may arise during the “One Belt and One Road” construction.


Last month, as a founding member, the Chamber joined the Belt and Road Industrial and Commercial Alliance (BRICA) initiated by the China Federation of Industrial Economics (CFIE). We will actively support the BRICA on its tasks to promote cooperation among industrial and commercial organizations worldwide and provide appropriate assistance to businesses. We will also fully cooperate with the HKSAR Government on its efforts for the “One Belt and One Road”, actively maintaining communication with the soon-to-be-established steering committee and office to provide market consulting services and business support for businesses.


During his visit in Hong Kong in May, NPC Chairman Zhang Dejiang clearly stated that the Central Government will support Hong Kong’s proactive alignment with the “One Belt and One Road” to build platforms for integrated services and for investment and financing. Given the country’s full support and driven by the HKSAR Government, Hong Kong businesses are definitely well-positioned to leverage their strengths to find the right positioning in the opportunities arising from the “One Belt and One Road” construction. The Chamber will maximize its strengths in networking to play a “super connector” role for businesses to expand their operations.