Dr Charles YEUNG (Chairman of the 48th, 49th terms of office) November 2015
I am very honoured to work together with all our members to continue focusing on four main areas in the Chamber’s future undertakings, performing the unique functions as a chamber of commerce in promoting Hong Kong’s long-term development and national development.
As this year marks the 115th anniversary of the founding of the Chamber, besides organizing various themed celebration events, we will also hold a cocktail reception in late November to pay tribute to our predecessors and celebrate the Chamber’s development towards a new milestone. I am very honoured to work together with all our members to continue focusing on four main areas in the Chamber’s future undertakings, performing the unique functions as a chamber of commerce in promoting Hong Kong’s long-term development and national development.
Building an excellent business environment
Since its establishment in 1900, the Chamber has always focused on its mission to serve the business community and keep with the times in assisting members to expand their business and promoting Hong Kong’s economic and trade development. Faced with the rapidly changing external economic situation, plus the increase in internal social conflicts in recent years, we will further unite the strength of members and the business community to actively reinforce our functional role to communicate with the Government and the society. Specifically, we will express the business community’s views on issues that have a profound impact on business operations, such as the upcoming implementation of the Competition Ordinance, standard working hours that are of much concern to both employers and employees, and the arrangements under the MPF system. We will also continue to support the HKSAR Government’s administration according to law; encourage the business community to take concrete actions to cooperate with the Government to develop the economy and improve people’s livelihood; help Hong Kong set its development orientation and cultivate new growth drivers; strive to improve the business environment; and enhance our overall competitiveness.
Capturing opportunities arising from national development
The Chamber’s role in promoting economic and trade exchanges between Hong Kong and the Mainland has always been widely recognized by various communities. When meeting with the Chamber’s high-level delegation to Beijing in July this year, Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, commended the Chamber for its vital influence on the country’s reform and opening up and Hong Kong’s economic development. The country actively rolls out its blueprint for a new round of economic reforms and the Fifth Plenary Session has endorsed the key development directions of the “13th Five-Year Plan” to build up a moderately well-off society, maintain economic growth at middle to high speed as well as enhance the status and function of Hong Kong and Macau in the country’s economic development and opening up. With this new development, we will continue to assist the business community to capture the huge business opportunities arising from it, including supporting the “13th Five-Year Plan” and the construction of the Guangdong FTZ. Specifically, we will strengthen ties with the three new major economic areas of Nansha, Qianhai and Hengqin, and by organizing study visits, forums and seminars further promote economic and trade exchanges with the Mainland, Taiwan and Macau, working together to promote closer cooperation in the Greater China region.
Strengthening ties with external regions
In recent years, with the rapid development of regional economies, the Chamber has also devoted a lot of effort in advancing Hong Kong’s economic and trade cooperation with the rest of the world, especially ASEAN and East Asia. We fully support Hong Kong’s negotiations on the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. Over the years, we have actively participated in the World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention and other related activities to explore business opportunities with local and foreign Chinese businesses. In fact, the country is accelerating its pace of “going global”. It has recently signed an agreement on constructing a high-speed rail in Indonesia, and President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK has also firmed up several economic, trade and investment cooperation plans including finance, infrastructure, energy and emerging industry. This sets an important milestone for forging strategic partnerships with its Western partners. As an important platform to link up global business enterprises, the Chamber will make good use of the chambers of commerce network to actively support the development of the “One Belt and One Road”, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Silk Road Fund initiatives, giving full play to Hong Kong’s unique role as a “Super Connector”.
Promoting the nurturing and development of talents
The Chamber attaches great importance to sustainable and stable social development. Specifically since young people are the pillars of future social and national development, we must provide appropriate encouragement and support for their growth. We sponsor local students for internships and exchanges in the Mainland every year to help them broaden their horizons and understand the latest national developments. Through different channels such as the industries, government and academia, we will continue to promote the development of cultural and creative industries and technological innovation in Hong Kong, and actively strengthen interaction among the young people of the Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, providing a broader foundation and impetus for the nurturing of talents and career development of our younger generation.
Looking to the future, while upholding the Chamber’s fine tradition of loving the motherland and Hong Kong, we will advance with the times and actively capitalise on the strength of the chambers of commerce network to align with the new developments arising from the country’s comprehensive deepening of reforms and regional economic development, devoting every effort to promote the prosperity and progress of Hong Kong and the country.