Disney hotel to boost tourism

Chief Executive CY Leung

The word “explorers” usually brings to mind exotic travel – unfamiliar paths followed for discovery, adventure and excitement. Well, in my case, the journey to Disneyland was just fine. And the destination – this exotic new Disney hotel – is all worth the travel.

 

Like everything else at Disneyland, the Disney Explorers Lodge was dreamed up to amaze and to add pleasure, joy and discovery to our lives. And all brought to life in an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind experience.

 

Beginning with the hotel’s design, which captures cultural elements of Asia, Oceania, South America and Africa. You see it in the grand sweep; you see it, too, in the distinctive details – antique toys, craft, textiles, jewellery and artefacts. The gardens, each with their own theme with a Disney or Pixar character, are lush with greenery.

 

Let me just say how confident I am that it will help reinforce Hong Kong’s position as a premier tourist destination.

 

The hotel, with 750 rooms, will definitely attract more overnight stays to Hong Kong. Indeed, this new lodge, together with Disneyland’s two existing hotels, brings the resort’s room total to 1,750.

 

And when you step out from any of those rooms, you will find that Hong Kong Disneyland is continually evolving, and expanding, bringing wonder to Hong Kong and the world beyond.

 

It was only a few months ago that I was here to help open the Iron Man Experience. And, with funding approval by the Legislative Council earlier this month, we are taking forward a multi-year expansion and development plan of the resort. Hong Kong Disneyland will begin unveiling exciting new attractions starting next year: “Elsa & Anna”, more Marvel superheroes, “Moana” and a more magnificent castle will be rolled out one after another.

 

The expansion project, together with the completion of major cross-boundary infrastructure in the next few years, will bring in more visitors from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, the whole of the Mainland of China and the world beyond. These projects include one of the longest bridges in the world, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge that will provide a road link between Lantau Island – where we are – and the west bank of the prosperous Pearl River Delta area. Incidentally, this bridge should be open to traffic before the end of next year.

 

All these will present enormous opportunities for Hong Kong Disneyland, for our tourism sector, and for Hong Kong as a whole.

 

Chief Executive CY Leung made these remarks at the opening ceremony of Disney Explorers Lodge on May 16.

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Healthcare manpower improving

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung

The HA (Hospital Authority) Convention was first organised back in 1993, shortly after the HA was established in 1990 and took over the management of all public hospitals in December 1991. Since then, the convention has become an annual signature event with themes closely matching the different development phases of the organisation. This year, focusing on the core values of the HA, and that is, people-centred care, professional service, committed staff and teamwork, the convention provides a valuable platform for renowned healthcare professionals, experts and leaders from within Hong Kong and from the Mainland of China and also of course, other parts of the world, to share their experience and expertise while promoting research excellence for the betterment of healthcare services in Hong Kong.

 

Over the years, Hong Kong has developed a high-quality and remarkably efficient healthcare system supported by a pool of healthcare professionals known for their unwavering dedication as well as high standards of professionalism and ethical conduct. Our healthcare system is rated the most efficient among the 55 economies covered in a study conducted by Bloomberg in 2016. This system, which delivers quality services for the public, has achieved outstanding health standards, as evidenced by the fact that Hong Kong’s health indicators such as life expectancy and infant mortality rank among the best in the world. In fact, in terms of life expectancy, we are the highest in the world so far.

 

Notwithstanding its impressive achievements so far, the present system is facing fundamental challenges. The increasing healthcare needs arising from demographic changes, especially the rapidly ageing population (one in 6.5 persons in Hong Kong is aged 65 or above, and in 20 years’ time that figure will rise to one in three), rising medical costs owing to advances in medical technology and public expectations for healthcare to keep up with such advances, and the consequent increase in healthcare expenditure, are all imposing immense pressure and strain on our healthcare system.

 

We are well aware that maintaining the status quo is not an option. I stress, not an option. There is a pressing need, therefore, for us to enhance the overall capacity of our public healthcare system in order to meet the healthcare needs of Hong Kong. The Government has substantially increased the resources allocated to public healthcare services over the years. As compared with five years ago when the current-term Government took office, recurrent government expenditure on health has increased by a notable 34% to around $61.9 billion in the current financial year, with the lion’s share, that is about 88% of that share, allocated to the HA on a recurrent basis.

 

To expand and upgrade healthcare facilities in a more flexible and long-term manner, we earmarked a total provision of $200 billion last year for the implementation of a 10-year hospital development plan. The plan will cover the redevelopment and expansion of a number of hospitals, including, not in any pecking order, Kwong Wah Hospital, United Christian Hospital, Queen Mary Hospital, Kwai Chung Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital, Haven of Hope Hospital, Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital, Operating Theatre Block of Tuen Mun Hospital, North District Hospital, Lai King Building of Princess Margaret Hospital and finally, Grantham Hospital. As for new hospital projects, an acute general hospital will be built in the Kai Tak Development Area – the former Kai Tak Airport – providing an oncology centre and the first neuroscience centre in Hong Kong.

 

This $200 billion development plan is certainly a vast investment. It will provide 5,000 additional hospital beds, representing an increase of 18%. Operating theatres will increase by 40% to 320. Specialist outpatient service capacity will also be expanded substantially by 40% from 6.8 million to 10 million attendances a year. At the district level, community health centres will be set up in Mong Kok, Shek Kip Mei and North District. Additional services for 410,000 attendances will be provided at the general outpatient clinics each year.

 

Whilst Hong Kong has a reliable public hospital system, we also need a dynamic and vibrant private healthcare sector to provide patients with more choices and offer healthcare professionals alternative career development options. A well-developed private sector will induce healthy competition in the healthcare system, thus helping raise the standards of professionals in both sectors. We are delighted to see that a new private hospital commenced service earlier this year and construction is now in full swing for Hong Kong’s first non-profit-making university teaching hospital, of which the development cost is partly financed by government loans. In March 2016, the Government allocated $10 billion to the HA for setting up the HA Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Fund, with a view to generating investment returns for funding clinical PPP programmes and initiatives. The Government has also provided a loan of $4 billion for the Chinese University of Hong Kong to develop a non-profit-making private hospital.

 

At present, the public healthcare sector still accounts for some 90% of inpatient services in Hong Kong and serves as the safety net for those in need, particularly the disadvantaged. To strengthen healthcare services for the elderly and other needy patients, from this financial year onwards, we will increase the annual recurrent provision for the HA by $2 billion to $54.4 billion.

 

The development of healthcare facilities and infrastructure must go hand-in-hand with manpower planning. In view of this, we have already provided additional training places in local universities for doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to meet the manpower demand arising from healthcare development and demographic changes. For example, the number of medical training places has grown threefold since 2009. Moreover, we will publish the report of the first territory-wide Strategic Review on Healthcare Manpower Planning & Professional Development in Hong Kong in the coming months. This strategic review is in fact done by a committee chaired by Dr Ko Wing-man. The review will make recommendations to better enable our society to meet projected demand for qualified and well-trained healthcare professionals.

 

While these measures clearly demonstrate the Government’s resolve to increase healthcare manpower supply in the long term, they will of course, take time to yield results. The growing demand for public healthcare services, severe manpower constraints, and rising expectations of patients and their families as well as the general public, are putting immense pressure on front-line healthcare workers. Despite the heavy workload and huge pressure, I must say that all our 75,000 HA colleagues remain fully resilient, totally committed, and continue to deliver quality services in a most professional manner. I would like to take this opportunity to salute their sustained efforts and sterling contributions.

 

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung gave these remarks at the opening ceremony of the Hospital Authority Convention 2017 on May 16.

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HK a ‘super-connector’

Chief Executive CY Leung

The Belt & Road is about international co-operation. Hong Kong is highly international. Some 8,000 Mainland Chinese and foreign companies have set up their offices in Hong Kong, including 75 of the world’s 100 largest banks. Hong Kong is also open, very open to international co-operation. We have no capital control. Indeed, the Heritage Foundation has ranked Hong Kong the world’s freest economy for 23 years in a row.

Financial connectivity lies at the heart of the Belt & Road. Hong Kong enjoys super-connectivity under the “one country, two systems” arrangement. “One country” – we are part of China and enjoy the China advantage. “Two systems” – we practise, so to speak, the other system that is not used on the Mainland of China.
 

Hong Kong is China’s international financial centre and, at the same time, the world’s China financial centre. We have a deep pool of financial professionals of all nationalities. Bankers, lawyers, accountants, risk managers in Hong Kong are well versed in cross-border transactions. They understand the Mainland Chinese market as well as regional and global markets.

All these have made us the super-connector between the rest of China and the rest of the world. Capital, talent, information and market opportunities flow through Hong Kong. We are the preferred destination of capital from the Mainland. We go out to overseas economies together with Mainland Chinese enterprises, and we go into the Mainland together with enterprises from other countries.

Hong Kong is well-placed to meet the rising demand for fundraising and financial management services for Belt & Road projects.  We top global ranking in fundraising in initial public offerings, and offer a great variety of financing avenues – syndicated loans, private equity funds, bonds, sukuks and others. We are also Asia’s centre of asset and risk management, insurance and re-insurance, and corporate treasury services.

We have the ability to carry out project finance in both public and private markets. Furthermore, we have the ability to manage both the construction and the operation of infrastructure projects. My fellow speakers have spoken about the importance of having high quality infrastructure projects. And we need good project management and operational management work to make sure that the infrastructure projects are of high quality and remain of high quality. Indeed we now operate our Mass Transit Railway Corporation, the MTRC now operates railways outside of Hong Kong, in the Mainland of China, in the United Kingdom, in Sweden and in Australia, for example. The total number of passengers handled on these railways managed by the MTRC of Hong Kong on a daily work day average basis is about 5.5 million people. We also have the ability to assemble syndicate finance, identifying potential investors from the Mainland of China and the region; the ability to raise green financing; and the ability to access a large number of Mainland investors through the Stock Connects with Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Hong Kong has become by far the world’s largest offshore renminbi business centre. As the renminbi becomes increasingly popular as a financing and transaction currency for Belt & Road projects, Hong Kong stands ready to offer our services to investors around the world.

Last year, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority set up an Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office, as a one-stop shop to help companies finance infrastructure projects. More than 60 organisations have joined as business partners, including financial agencies, banks, investors and insurance companies.

Beyond financing, we are encouraging the growth of new financing activities. We have, for example, just introduced a legislative proposal on tax concessions for qualifying aircraft lessors and leasing managers. And in maritime services as well – from financing to insurance.

And let me just add that Hong Kong is right at the heart of a strategic point of the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road – namely the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area. This area, covering 11 of the more prosperous cities of China and a total population of 66 million, presents huge and fresh opportunities for all. A development plan for this bay area is being jointly prepared. In this new regional co-operation initiative, financial services will be Hong Kong’s key strength.

Ladies and gentlemen, we look forward to working with you all, serving your needs, sharing our opportunities, and, together, contributing to the new prosperity under the Belt & Road Initiative.

Chief Executive CY Leung gave these remarks at the financial connectivity session of the Belt & Road Forum for International Co-operation in Beijing on May 14.

 

 

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HK an ideal legal hub: SJ

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen

The Belt & Road (B&R) Initiative is one of the hottest topics discussed in the world ever since it was announced by President Xi. The fact that the Law Society saw fit to choose the B&R Initiative as the theme for this important event as well as the fact that this event can attract so many leading representatives of the legal community and beyond from so many jurisdictions around the world provide strong testimony to the importance of the B&R Initiative.

 

New opportunities

In addition to people-to-people bonding, one of the key objectives of the B&R Initiative is to further enhance and integrate trade, financial and infrastructural connections among the countries along the B&R route. Increased trade and commercial activities among the B&R countries will give rise to a strong demand for professional services, including legal and dispute resolution services. As noted by the Working Party of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) Trade Committee:

 

“Indeed, without the inputs of lawyers, trade in … services, as well as goods, would not occur in a structured, secure and predictable manner. Lawyers are increasingly playing a vital role in supporting and facilitating business in the world economy and are more and more regarded as part of the overall infrastructure of commerce… International trade in legal services can also be seen as catalyst for foreign investment, contributing to the security and predictability of the local business environment” (Note 1).

 

Nevertheless, legal risks are inherent in cross-border transactions. Any enterprise and any jurisdiction which wishes to tap on the opportunities generated by the B&R Initiative would have to take proactive steps to get themselves ready in meeting the legal challenges ahead of us. Hong Kong, as a leading common law jurisdiction in the region, is in a unique position to provide the necessary legal and dispute resolution services. For the present purpose, I would like to take this opportunity to briefly share with you our major policy objective of promoting international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region in the context of the B&R Initiative.

 

Legal risk management

To begin with, Hong Kong is well equipped to provide a wide spectrum of legal risk management services for corporations from different jurisdictions, including those from the B&R economies seeking to expand their markets overseas, including of course the Mainland market.

 

Our strong pool of local and overseas legal professionals, with a wealth of experience and expertise in many different areas, are best positioned to offer risk assessment-based advice touching on multiple practice areas to enable international companies to effectively avoid, manage and control legal risks and disputes at each and every stage of their business process. With its strategic geographical location as Asia’s world city, Hong Kong is second to none if B&R countries are looking for an ideal legal hub with a strong base of and extensive connections with international law firms, providing a holistic and cost-effective approach to the provision of legal services to companies doing cross-border or international trade.

 

Dispute resolution services

Under Hong Kong’s arbitration regime, we place great emphasis on the confidentiality of arbitration proceedings and awards and the ease of cross-border enforcement of arbitral awards between the Contracting States of the New York Convention as well as with the Mainland and the Macau SAR. These are some of the major considerations which contracting parties would definitely take into account when deciding whether to choose Hong Kong as their venue for dispute resolution under the B&R Initiative.

 

It is accordingly for good reasons that our arbitration legislation is based on the latest (2006) version of the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), which reinforces the advantages of arbitration, including the respect for parties’ autonomy as well as the cost-effectiveness of the arbitral process. The user-friendly UNCITRAL Model Law, as you would know, is widely adopted by the major economies, which are major trading partners with the B&R countries.

 

To embrace new opportunities which may present themselves, the Department of Justice spares no effort in keeping Hong Kong’s arbitration regime abreast of ever changing circumstances and needs. Recently, we have introduced two amendment bills to the Arbitration Ordinance (Cap 609) to our Legislative Council, with a view to providing legal certainty, first, for the arbitrability of intellectual property rights disputes and, second, for third party funding of arbitration or mediation. When the legislative processes are completed (which I anticipate will be very soon), they will further enhance Hong Kong’s position as an international arbitration centre in the region, as well as help better serve the needs of the development along the B&R economies.

 

Investment arbitration

As important as international trade as a means to connect the countries in the B&R region, infrastructural integration will also bring about enormous opportunities for development in the region, but the other side of the coin is that international investors have to handle the country risk and political risk with care. In this regard, it is pertinent to note the development of investor-state arbitration services that can be offered by Hong Kong.

 

With the support of the Central People’s Government (especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), arrangement was made in January 2015 with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) so as to facilitate the conduct of PCA-administered arbitration in Hong Kong, including state-investor and other forms of international investment arbitration. This arrangement with the PCA, together with the other relevant measures we have implemented, place Hong Kong in an even better position to provide high-end specialist dispute resolution services to the international business community.

 

Moreover, since October last year, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) has introduced a new measure which is particularly relevant to investor-state arbitration in Asia. The HKIAC offers its hearing and meeting rooms to parties free-of-charge in respect of dispute resolution proceedings it administers, whether seated in or outside of Hong Kong, in which at least one party is a state on the List of Official Development Assistance of the Development Assistance Committee under the OECD (OECD List) (Note 2). HKIAC’s offer of free hearing space is also of particular relevance to the Initiative’s outbound investment given that of the 60-plus B&R jurisdictions, 70 % are included in the OECD List.

 

Mainland advantage

 Apart from the expressed support of Chairman Zhang Dejiang for Hong Kong’s development as an international legal and dispute resolution services centre in the Asia-Pacific region (as mentioned by the Chief Executive just now), the Opinion promulgated by the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) of China in July 2015 has provided a signal of clear and strong policy support to the use of international arbitration as a means of dispute resolution in the B&R context. Such support provides further momentum to the development of international arbitration in the region and beyond, and a robust dispute resolution regime will enhance investors’ confidence, which is essential in taking forward the B&R Initiative.

 

Its successful implementation requires the joint efforts of all the jurisdictions involved. The legal community definitely has a significant role to play. And, if I may venture to suggest, the reason for the legal profession’s participation in the B&R Initiative is not just for business development, nor just for the promotion of trade and commerce. The joint efforts of providing robust legal services to the B&R economies will contribute to the building of a transnational legal order, which will in turn promote the rule of law at the international level, and thus ultimately contribute to human advancement.

 

Hong Kong has always been and will remain an international city. Our legal and dispute resolution community stands ready to share our experience with friends from other jurisdictions. I thank the Law Society of Hong Kong for organising this Conference, and also thank all the speakers and participants for sharing their insights. But I am sure this event will only be a catalyst for further connectivity, further convergence and further collaboration among us.

 

Note 1: “Managing Request-Offer Negotiations Under the GATS: The Case of Legal Services”, OECD Trade Policy Working Paper No. 2, prepared by Massimo Geloso Grosso, June 14, 2004

 

Note 2: See “HKIAC offers free hearing spaces in cases involving developing states” and the OECD List. Available here and the DAC List of ODA Recipients.

 

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen made these remarks at the Belt & Road Conference opening ceremony on May 12.

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HK ready for Belt-Road opportunities

Chief Executive CY Leung

In the 10 years between 2004 and 2014, the GDP contributed by professional services grew by an average rate of 8.7% annually. Today, in terms of its contribution to Hong Kong’s total GDP, professional services ranks with tourism. Over the past 14 years or so, we have managed to establish a strong foothold in the Mainland – which is nowadays undoubtedly the biggest overseas market for Hong Kong professional services. And the trend is promising. According to the National Development & Reform Commission, last year, our trade in services with Guangdong Province – including legal and financial services, accounting and architecture – increased by 40% on the previous year.  

 

Going forward, we need another engine. That engine is the Belt & Road Initiative. 

 

Covering 4.4 billion people in some 60-plus countries, and accounting for over 30% of global economic value, the Belt & Road will surely create huge, and fresh, opportunities. Last year, the Mainland of China’s direct investment in Belt & Road countries amounted to US$14.5 billion. The expansion of trade, investment and infrastructure building along the Belt & Road will surely lead to a rise in demand for legal services – contract negotiation, contract management and dispute resolution, among others. There is no question of Hong Kong sitting on its hands and letting these business opportunities pass.

    

The question is how we grab these opportunities, not just today and tomorrow, but also in the coming decades. The question is how we leverage Hong Kong’s obvious and unique advantages.

 

Our advantages are, indeed, obvious and unique under the “one country, two systems” arrangement. Under “one country”, we are part of China and enjoy the “China advantage”. Our services, including legal services, enjoy preferential access to the Mainland market under CEPA – the Mainland & Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement. After 14 years of CEPA, Hong Kong professional services across the board are well known to clients in the Mainland – for our expertise, for our independence, and more importantly for our professional conduct and ethics.

 

Under “two systems”, we practise, so to speak, “the other system” that is different from that of Mainland cities – a separate economic and social system – and are a highly international society. And the international community is familiar with our legal system and our common law.

 

In short, our combined advantages under “one country, two systems”, our trilingual ability and our international network make us an ideal partner in legal services for both the Mainland Chinese and international companies. We can help foreign enterprises grow into the Mainland market, and partner with Mainland Chinese firms in expanding into foreign markets, including those along the Belt & Road.

 

And that is why we are building a legal and dispute resolution services centre here in Hong Kong, for the Asia-Pacific, and for the Belt & Road.

    

The Hong Kong Government is fully behind our professionals, lawyers included. The Secretary for Justice has been promoting Hong Kong’s legal and dispute resolution services around the world, visiting such countries as South Korea, Australia, Thailand and Dubai, among others. The $200 million Professional Services Advancement Support Scheme, PASS, announced in my 2016 Policy Address and launched last November, supports Hong Kong professionals in enhancing exchanges and co-operation with their counterparts outside Hong Kong.

 

The dedicated Belt & Road Office, set up last year to map out strategies and policy initiatives under the Belt & Road, is helping our companies and professionals in reaching out. The Belt & Road website is now up and running, and a compendium is being distributed. You will find there the many footprints of Hong Kong professionals and enterprises in the Belt & Road countries already. In other words, in many of these nascent markets, when you venture out, you will not be alone.

 

At the same time, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office, also set up last year, has helped companies invest in infrastructure projects. The office now counts some 60 members, from financial agencies, banks, investors, law firms to insurance companies. 

 

I take heart from the Central Authorities’ support for Hong Kong – including our professional services – in participating in the Belt & Road Initiative.

 

When Mr Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, attended the Belt & Road Summit in Hong Kong last May, he highlighted Hong Kong’s advantages in professional services – law, accounting, financial services, engineering, consultancy, and others. The Chairman said that, and I quote, “We support Hong Kong’s efforts to build a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific, in order to provide legal and arbitration services to the Belt & Road.” Unquote. 

 

So Hong Kong’s legal profession – all of you here today – are critical to creating the “connectivity, convergence and collaboration” essential to the success of the Belt & Road. On connectivity, we are the super-connector between the rest of China and the Belt & Road countries. On convergence, we are at the forefront. And on collaboration, particularly international collaboration, we are second to none as we are the freest economy in the world, for 23 years in a row.

 

Before I close, let me just add that a strategic point of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is, in fact, rather close to home, and this is the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area. 

 

This March, Premier Li Keqiang announced in the Hong Kong and Macau section of the Central Government’s work report the launch of a joint study to prepare a development plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area. This region, an important hinterland for Hong Kong, encompasses 11 cities and a total population of 66 million. Last month, I led a large delegation to visit Guangzhou, the provincial capital, and the five cities in the western part of the Pearl River Delta region. I was deeply impressed by their rapid developments. 

 

Hong Kong clearly stands out among all the Bay Area cities when it comes to legal services. 

 

Last month, I met with the Law Society at Government House on how the Government can better support the legal profession in reaching out – to work with Bay Area enterprises and the Belt & Road countries. This is work in progress. The Government and I very much welcome your input going forward.

 

Chief Executive CY Leung gave these remarks at the Belt & Road Conference opening ceremony on May 12.

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HK a commodity gateway

Financial Secretary Paul Chan

I confess I don’t know much about business of metal. I do, however, note that metals have a reputation for being hard and tough. That they can take a beating, without breaking. And, no less important, that nearly all metals have high melting points. Something worth noting, given last year’s less-than-shiny commodity market results.

 

Yes, total LME volume came in at about 160 million lots in 2016, down 7.7% from 2015. Year-end LME futures market open interest also dropped 4%, year-on-year.

 

Looking ahead, there is a silver lining. There are bright sides that we can look forward to, and that is China and developing Asia. Together, they will continue to be the global economy’s main engine of growth. The latest forecast from the International Monetary Fund projects growth of 6.5% for China, and a similar magnitude for developing Asia this year, whereas the projected growth rate globally is only 3.4%.

 

China, the world’s second largest economy, is already a major consumer in the global commodity market, and its Belt & Road Initiative, which encompasses some 65 countries across Asia, Europe and Africa, will provide the much-needed new impetus to the global economy. By increasing investment, improving infrastructure connectivity, promoting economic integration, enhancing free flow of goods and capital and encouraging people-to-people exchanges. In short, China has the potential to lift the demand in the commodity market and a range of related industries.

 

As for Hong Kong, we are the world’s leading financial capital in Asia, as well as China’s international financial centre. We can provide businesses in the Mainland and Belt & Road countries with a wide range of financial services. Initial public offerings (IPOs), to be sure, but also post-listing capital raising, bond issuance, bank loans and offshore renminbi business opportunities. Thanks to our unique advantages under the “one country, two systems”, our strategic location, our multicultural capability and our singular global experience and connection, Hong Kong is the critical bridge between Asia, and particularly the Mainland, and the rest of the world.

 

On the commodities front, Hong Kong enables easy access to the LME and its wide-ranging product offerings. They include six London Metal Mini Futures contracts. These are traded in renminbi and the LME’s global reference prices. With Hong Kong’s Asian time-zone advantage, they give base metal users, producers and investors, worldwide, more hedging and risk-management tools. And there’s a broader range of commodity products in the pipeline, I’m pleased to note. The HKEX is planning to launch gold futures contracts in US dollars and offshore renminbi. A first for Hong Kong. HKEX will also launch, here in Hong Kong, index-linked and cash-settled iron-ore future contracts denominated in US dollars.

 

These and other moves will enrich Hong Kong’s product offerings. They will also provide a risk management and trading platform for both Mainland and international investors. And we have only just begun. China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, now into year two, reaffirms Hong Kong’s status as a global offshore renminbi business hub. It supports our participation in the two-way opening up of the Mainland’s financial market.

 

For good reasons – and a good many reasons indeed. First of all, Hong Kong is home to the largest offshore renminbi liquidity pool in the world. We are the largest, as well, when it comes to renminbi trade settlement and payment, accounting for some 70 per cent of the world’s offshore renminbi payments. Hong Kong is also a centre for renminbi innovation, offering bonds, investment funds, shares and currency derivative products.

 

For several years now, the HKEX has been a leader in US dollar-renminbi liquidity and distribution among exchanges.

 

Indeed, we account for about two-thirds of the world’s exchange-traded US dollar-offshore renminbi futures. To add to its offerings, HKEX, in February, introduced its first currency option product – the US dollar-renminbi options.

 

Looking at investment funds, the Mainland-Hong Kong Mutual Recognition of Funds Arrangement, launched nearly two years ago now, has enriched renminbi fund product variety. It remains the only such scheme in the world between the Mainland and an outside market.

 

And, of course, there is Stock Connect, which has taken Hong Kong’s role as the gateway to Mainland markets to new heights. The Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, initiated back in 2014, was followed last December by the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect. Stock Connect gives international investors smooth access to the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets through Hong Kong. It also makes it easy for Mainland investors to take advantage of companies listed in Hong Kong.

 

And Stock Connect is only the beginning. The concept will be extended to other product types. In March, Premier Li Keqiang announced the soon-to-be-launched Bond Connect between the Mainland and Hong Kong on a trial basis this year, that would allow overseas capital to access Mainland bond markets, offshore, for the first time. We are now working on the scheme with relevant Mainland authorities. We shall also promote mutual access of exchange-traded funds to expand securities trading under the Connect initiative. This can only lead to more investment choices for investors.

 

Allow me to turn now to one of our strongest suits – our listing platform. Last year, Hong Kong ranked first, globally, in funds raised through initial public offerings – and for the second year in a row. Let me add that we have been among the world’s top five in IPO fundraising since 2002. We have, in short, the financial prowess, and means, to make a difference for the Belt & Road Initiative.

 

To that end, our Securities & Futures Commission issued a statement, last month, regarding infrastructure project companies and how to assess their eligibility for listing on our Main Board. We hope to further develop our listing platform, reinforcing our position as an equities leader and market of choice for Mainland and international issuers. In that regard, HKEX, I know, is looking at ways to enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong’s listing platform. It includes reviewing the Growth Enterprise Market and assessing the feasibility of introducing a new board. We are looking, in short, to attract a more diverse range of issuers.

 

Financial Secretary Paul Chan gave these remarks at the LME Asia Metals Seminar.

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Safeguarding press freedom

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung

The Newspaper Society of Hong Kong organises the Hong Kong News Awards every year to give recognition to the outstanding achievements and professionalism of journalists in Hong Kong. I am pleased to see the Hong Kong News Awards growing from strength to strength, from only two sections of awards at the beginning to today’s four sections of a total of 75 awards. The awards are vivid proof of Hong Kong’s enhancing quality in news reporting. 

 

Hong Kong is a free, open and pluralistic society. Freedom of speech, of the press and of publication, as enshrined in Article 27 of the Basic Law, is the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s continuous success as an international metropolis. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSAR) is committed to safeguarding these vital core values of Hong Kong. We will continue to partner with the press and the media to make Hong Kong flourish and thrive. 

 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the HKSAR. It is an important milestone in the development of Hong Kong. Under the theme of “Together • Progress • Opportunity”, we will make use of this special occasion to demonstrate the successful implementation of the “one country, two systems”, to build stronger community spirit and to strengthen our confidence to master opportunities and move towards the future. We will continue to work closely with our friends here for the betterment of Hong Kong.

 

I warmly congratulate the awardees of this year’s Hong Kong News Awards. I wish this annual remarkable event continuous success. Thank you very much.

 

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung gave these remarks at the Hong Kong News Awards 2016 presentation luncheon.

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HK an exhibition hub

Acting Financial Secretary Prof KC Chan

It is truly my pleasure to join you today for the opening of HOFEX, the 17th edition. And I have, I’m pleased to note, the very good fortune to be here for the 30th anniversary of this celebrated trade fair.

 

HOFEX is, of course, the International Exhibition of Food & Drink, Hotel, Restaurant & Foodservice Equipment, Supplies & Services. A big name for a big show. One that seems to be getting bigger with every edition.

 

Indeed, the event this year is the biggest in the history of HOFEX – in exhibitor numbers and space, national pavilions and buyers. More than 2,600 exhibitors from 72 countries and regions are here. They’ve packed 15 exhibition halls, spanning some 66,000 square metres, with a cornucopia of food products and services from all over the world.

 

Let me add that 25 countries are here, at HOFEX, for the first time, including the likes, and loves, of Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Latvia, Peru and Sweden.

 

And there’re lots more that’s new this year, including ProWine Asia, initiated by Messe Düsseldorf who organised the world’s largest trade fair for the global wines and spirits industry. ProWine Asia is featuring over 450 wine and spirits participants from 40 countries and regions.

 

The strategic decision to stage ProWine Asia here underlines the stature of HOFEX as a must-attend trade fair. It reflects, as well, the pre-eminent role of Hong Kong as both an international exhibition centre and Asia’s wine trading and distribution hub.

 

And, yes, we know something about food, too. Last year, our food services and accommodation sectors accounted for 10% of our total employment in the private sector. And our world-class logistics network supplies Hong Kong with fresh-market products from every corner of the world.

 

The fun part, of course, begins when our more than 14,000 restaurants take over. Hong Kong is blessed with every regional and local Chinese dish and delicacy an epicurean could want, together with the many pleasures of continental Asian fare and pan-European cuisine. Hong Kong has it all, from street food that sizzles to Michelin-starred restaurants – 61, to be precise, and covering some 50 cuisines.

 

It helps, too, that Hong Kong is blessed with sophisticated infrastructure, world-class facilities, a business-friendly environment, high English proficiency and a vibrant, East-meets-West lifestyle. Put it all together, and you’ve got everything you need to make your Asian MICE destination decision a slam dunk. The harder part will be deciding where to savour your yum cha.

 

In fact, Hong Kong’s overnight MICE arrivals last year grew by 10%. And, rest assured, we will continue to promote Hong Kong’s remarkable diversity, while enhancing our tourism offerings.

 

Much as HOFEX continues to do, and magnificently, for buyers and sellers in the great food and hospitality marketplace.

 

Acting Financial Secretary Prof KC Chan gave these remarks at the opening ceremony of HOFEX 2017 on May 8.

 

 

via Moroccan Trader HK an exhibition hub

Supporting re-industrialisation

Chief Executive CY Leung

A year and a half ago, like a good many of you, I was here for the inaugural summit. The Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, the summit’s organiser, was established just the day before. The Innovation & Technology Bureau was set up just two weeks prior to the first summit. In less than six weeks after the summit, I announced, in my 2016 Policy Address, an investment of US$2.3 billion in programmes and initiatives designed to speed up innovation and technology (I&T) development in Hong Kong.

 

Among other things, the unprecedented government funding has been used to boost midstream and translational R&D in universities, support technology startups, expand I&T infrastructure, advance Hong Kong’s re-industrialisation and promote smart city development.

 

These efforts have not gone unnoticed. Indeed, they have captured the attention, and imagination, of the world’s leading R&D institutions. We have attracted internationally-renowned research centres to Hong Kong – here to set up research bases in Asia, to work with their counterparts in Hong Kong, and through Hong Kong, the rest of the country. With Hong Kong’s double advantages under “one country” and “two systems”, gaining a foothold here in Hong Kong can only expand research connections and business opportunities north of the boundary with the Mainland.

 

I am glad to say that Hong Kong is making good progress in scientific R&D, including two fast-growing fields of global interest – bio-medicine and smart materials – the focuses of today’s summit.

 

Science Park a magnet for research centres

Last October, Sweden’s 200-year-old Karolinska Institutet, a leading medical university in the world, turned to Hong Kong to establish its first overseas research centre. The Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine, here in Hong Kong Science Park, focuses on stem-cell biology, biomedical engineering, biotechnology and regenerative medicine.

 

Last December, the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine & Health announced that it would follow suit, establishing at the Science Park the Guangzhou Hong Kong Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Research Centre.

 

I would say that gives us a strong foundation from which to build upon. In scientific research, and in bringing research findings from the laboratory to the community.

 

To give an example, an incubatee company at the Science Park has developed a patented medical technology for needle-less, non-invasive ocular drug delivery using ultrasound. The technology may, in the future, well replace eyeball injections needed by more than 300 million people with posterior eye diseases.

 

In smart materials, another Science Park tenant has turned its meta-material noise control technology into an award-winning invention that gives engineered acoustic properties to conventional materials. This company was financed by a programme set up under the Government’s Innovation & Technology Fund.

 

Then there is the Nano & Advanced Materials Institute. One of the five local R&D centres funded by the Government, the institute has created a number of innovations involving smart materials: flexible and safe battery technology for wearable electronics; a breathable, nano-fibre face mask for sports; eggshell-recycling technology that extracts nutrients from garbage; and much more.

 

Commercialising R&D results

The Government will continue to support our R&D centres and local startups, and continue to promote entrepreneurship here. Six Hong Kong universities are now receiving about US$3 million a year to help their technology startups commercialise R&D results. We will ask the University Grants Committee to review the allocation of research grants, and expand the assessment criteria to include research impact and effectiveness of knowledge and technology transfer.

 

We will, as well, continue to build and strengthen connections between technology innovation and the manufacturing sector, or what I would like to call re-industrialisation.

 

Re-industrialisation of Hong Kong will drive high-end manufacturing, create more I&T applications to improve our lives, and fuel Hong Kong’s economic growth. The Technology Voucher Programme, launched in November last year, subsidises the use of technology by SMEs to improve productivity. The Innovation & Technology Fund for Better Living, to be launched later this month, will subsidise I&T projects that bring convenience, comfort and safety to our everyday lives.

 

Three months ago, we set up a committee on innovation, technology and re-industrialisation, to co-ordinate Hong Kong’s long-term I&T development and re-industrialisation.

 

In the next five years, we plan to build an Advanced Manufacturing Centre & Data Technology Hub in the Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate. We have also commissioned the Hong Kong Productivity Council to build an Inno Space. The Inno Space will facilitate the sharing of technologies and skills, and help entrepreneurs turn their innovative ideas into industrial design and products.

 

To be sure, a big part of re-industrialisation is about space. That is why the Government has set aside sizeable land, including a site of over 50 hectares near the Liantang-Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point, which is going to be the seventh boundary crossing between Hong Kong and Shenzhen to be ready in about 18 months’ time, for use by the innovation and technology sector and other emerging or traditional industries. We are, of course, expanding the Science Park, increasing the park’s gross floor area to some 400,000 sq m.

 

HK-SZ tech park

Earlier this year, the Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop the 87 hectares of land in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, adjacent to our boundary with Shenzhen. This site, four times the area of the Science Park, will become the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation & Technology Park. It will be home to technology companies, R&D enterprises and higher-education institutions from Hong Kong, the Mainland of China and around the world. Yesterday, I and the Secretary for Innovation & Technology called on the newly-appointed party secretary of Shenzhen to review progress on both sides.

 

So the Hong Kong Government shares the same goal, the same passion, as the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong and the Federation of Hong Kong Industries in promoting I&T development in our city.

 

At the first Science & Technology Innovation Summit, the academy and the federation announced a strategic partnership, aimed at promoting exchanges between scientific research and industrial production. Among other things, federation members visited research centres and laboratories of academy members, while the latter, in turn, visited industrial facilities run by federation members.

 

This kind of collaboration helps entrepreneurs understand the promise of scientific research, while scientists can gain first-hand appreciation of commercial applications that can drive their research projects.

 

I am grateful to the academy and the federation – along with our universities, the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation, Cyberport, private enterprises, startups and angel investors – for contributing to building Hong Kong into Asia’s I&T hub. The Government alone cannot achieve this – we need your experience, your network and your expertise to help realise Hong Kong’s I&T ambitions.

 

Chief Executive CY Leung gave these remarks at the second Science & Technology Innovation Summit.

 

via Moroccan Trader Supporting re-industrialisation