Speech by SCED at "Made in Asia" sourcing symposium 2017 (English only)
Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at "Made in Asia" sourcing symposium 2017 today (March 16):
Distinguished speakers, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning! First of all, I would like to congratulate the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry for putting together yet another marvellous symposium.
And like my non-French friend Anson, I also feel strongly about our French connection. France indeed has much to offer for everyone to enjoy and celebrate, there's beautiful scenery, trend-setting fashion, and of course, amazing food and inspiring culture.
In particular, France has long been the art aficionado's paradise. There're over a thousand national art museums and privately-owned galleries and studios. Some say France is the art capital of the world because of all the talented curators. The curators have done such a great job in selecting the right contents for the right audience. They are able to create maximum mutual value by matching the best with the best.
That brings to what I would like to share with you all this morning, the role of Hong Kong in the global business arena.
As all of you may agree, Hong Kong has long excelled in its middleman role by bringing a world of people together, to invest and trade, to do business, to exchange ideas, and to open up new possibilities.
With increasing globalisation and the advent of the Internet, however, the supply chain landscape is changing quickly. Now that our potential business partners have increased access to information and e-commerce portals, the barriers that existed previously which prevented manufacturers or wholesalers from selling directly to the consumers have been removed somewhat.
That does not mean our role as middleman has become obsolete though. If anything, our conventional middleman role has evolved with more sophistication that adds even more values to businesses. We are not just a super-connector, we have become a knowledgeable curator as well.
Just look at the symposium today, we have a thriving MICE (meetings, incentive travels, conventions and exhibitions) sector here in Hong Kong. And we have, over the past couple of years, proactively facilitated our business sectors through our IP (intellectual property) trading and crossover collaboration initiatives. We help businesses grow and succeed by finding trustworthy partners across the globe. We connect businesses from all over the world to valuable growth opportunities of many kinds. We put the right fish in ponds together, to achieve maximum mutual benefits and value.
You may ask, what makes Hong Kong a successful curator? Trust. Trust in our trade professionals, trust in our institutional advantages, and trust in our growth opportunities.
For decades, our trade professionals have been well-known for their resilience and resourcefulness. People working along the supply chain have confidence in our services. Over the years, our trade professionals have accumulated rich knowledge, network and expertise in product sourcing and providing customised solutions to clients. Our logistics operators offer indispensable and handy value-added services, such as labelling, price-tagging, pick and pack as well as packaging on behalf of clients. Their tailor-made supply chain solutions which match buyers and sellers are also well acclaimed by clients.
As for our long-standing institutional advantages, they stem from the rule of law under the "one country, two systems" principle. Hong Kong is located right at the heart of Asia with a proficient and efficient logistics network. Our strong inter-modal connectivity, together with our round-the-clock customs clearance and "free port" status, make Hong Kong an ideal sourcing hub in Asia. Hong Kong has been regarded as one of the best cities in the world to do business, and we have been named as the freest economy in the world by the US-based Heritage Foundation for the past 23 years in a row. This status reflects real advantages for connecting businesses in Hong Kong.
In terms of growth opportunities, I introduced to you last year the humongous growth engine called the "Belt and Road" Initiative. Encompassing some 65 nations spanning Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the "Belt and Road" Initiative is perhaps the 21st century's most ambitious multi-lateral undertaking. This visionary long-term plan will accelerate demand and boost the volume and intensity of international trade and investment flow along the "Belt and Road" routes. Hong Kong is best-positioned as the curator for sourcing the best opportunities, pulling together various parties in pursuit of all these exciting developments.
Ladies and gentlemen, Hong Kong remains the strongest, indisputable and irreplaceable middleman with the shrewd foresight to assist businessmen to grasp the opportunities and embrace the challenges ahead. With your trust in our ability to connect and to help you prosper, we stand ready to be the ideal curator for your businesses. Thank you very much.
Ends/Thursday, March 16, 2017