Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto) (HKETO), Ms Emily Mo, spoke at the 7th Annual Transpacific Entrepreneurial Virtual Conference hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association (HKCBA) on January 22. The conference discussed how Canadian entrepreneurs can make use of Hong Kong as a platform to expand their business into Asia and vice versa.
In delivering opening remarks at the panel session entitled "Accessing Capital in Canada & Asia", Ms Mo first introduced the unique business advantages offered by Hong Kong, including the city’s prime location in Asia, rule of law, free flow to information and capital, low and simple tax system as well as strong government support.
Ms Mo moved on to point out that Hong Kong offered a fertile start-up environment supported by various public and private initiatives which helped entrepreneurs turn great ideas into reality. “With its robust IP protection and full range of legal, financial and professional services, Hong Kong is Asia’s Core Business District serving as an operational base for over 9 000 overseas and Mainland companies, including 200 from Canada,” Ms Mo said.
As the world is battling with COVID-19 and economic recovery, Ms Mo remarked that China is the first country to reopen and recover, with a positive GDP growth recorded for 2020. She added that trade between China and Canada recorded an increase in 2020.
Ms Mo highlighted the pivotal role that Hong Kong is set to play in China’s game-changing economic development strategies, namely the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Development.
“Our work in 2021 will focus on creating business opportunities through smart integration with these strategies, which can offer new and exciting opportunities for companies from Canada,” Ms Mo said.
Hong Kong is also an ideal gateway to grasp the business opportunities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) markets. “ASEAN is Hong Kong’s second biggest trading partner in goods, and fourth largest in services. Our Free Trade Agreement and related Investment Agreement with ASEAN can boost business and investment opportunities,” Ms Mo added.
“Besides the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which was signed last November, will take the city’s regional economic integration to another level,” Ms Mo said.
Before closing, Ms Mo invited overseas companies, including Canada’s, to make use of the Hong Kong platform to tap into the vast investment opportunities presented by the mainland of China, Asia and beyond.
Moderated by the Royal Bank of Canada's Head of Wealth Management - Asia Mr Terence Chow, the panel session was also joined by other speakers including Managing Partner of Saltagen Ventures Mr Joseph Fung, Head of Investment of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation Mr Raymond Wong, and Head of InvestHK Canada Mr Christopher Chen who provided an overview of the public funding avenues through the different government funding schemes.