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US businesses encouraged to access Asia via Hong Kong

Think Asia, Think Hong Kong
(Clockwise from left): Jack So, Chairman of the Board of Airport Authority Hong Kong; Edward Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the HKSAR; Dr Peter K N Lam, HKTDC Chairman; Fiona Ma, State Treasurer, State of California; YK Pang, Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board; and John Chiang, former State Treasurer, State of California, promote the Hong Kong brand at a “Hong Kong-style restaurant” set up at “Think Asia, Think Kong”

Hong Kong’s digital entrepreneurs drew an enthusiastic response as they made their pitches in California, the home of Silicon Valley, during the “Think Asia, Think Hong Kong” promotion in Los Angeles on 19-20 September.

Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the promotion attracted a strong show of support from the business community in the United States.

The mega promotion, featuring a business symposium on 20 September, business-matching sessions, networking events, business missions and a gala dinner, attracted around 1,500 participants eager to enter the Asian marketplace, either through Hong Kong or by making Hong Kong their home. The symposium was attended by Fiona Ma, State Treasurer, State of California, who was one of the speakers, along with other senior officials from the city of Los Angeles.

This year’s conference featured more than 50 industry-leading speakers from the US and Hong Kong, who shared new and exciting insights and breakthroughs in industries ranging from finance to biotech, logistics, design, e-commerce and business investment, among others. Attendees also heard first-hand success stories relating to Hong Kong’s business advantages and received advice on how US companies can seize new global opportunities through the Hong Kong platform. Close to 340 business-matching meetings were arranged to connect Hong Kong businesses and service providers with US companies.

Springboard to Asia

Dr Peter K N Lam
Dr Peter K N Lam, Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), shared insights into the current business situation in Hong Kong

“The US and Hong Kong have enjoyed close business ties for many decades. Now, as the world enters an era of greater uncertainty, it is important to strengthen this partnership even further to ensure economic growth can continue in a more open and globalised environment,” Dr Peter K N Lam, Chairman of the HKTDC, told he symposium.

Commenting on the recent social unrest in Hong Kong, he added: “We are a pragmatic and resilient city. We have strong fundamentals such as the rule of law and compliance with international standards, so I want to assure you that we will overcome our current challenges and move forward.”

 

Edward Yau
Edward Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), highlighted Hong Kong’s longstanding trade ties and economic relationship with the United States

Also addressing the opening session was Edward Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), who shared insights into opportunities for greater collaboration between US and Hong Kong companies.

Renowned business leaders − including Ray Conner, retired Boeing Vice Chairman and President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes; Ken Hitchner, retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Goldman Sachs, Asia Pacific; and Bernard Chan, Convenor of the Non-official Members of the Executive Council of the HKSAR − gathered in a panel to highlight the economic outlook, risks and opportunities in Asia, examining how US businesses can capitalise on growth opportunities using Hong Kong as a catalyst for global success.

Connecting innovation, entrepreneurs and investors

Seven other sector-specific sessions covered a broad range of topics, including: experiences of doing business in Asia via the Hong Kong platform (sponsored by Invest Hong Kong); design and technology (co-organised with the Hong Kong Design Centre); financial technology and smart banking (co-organised with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority); deal-making and dispute resolution (co-organised with the Department of Justice of the HKSAR); healthcare and biomedicine innovation (co-organised with HKSTP); smart living and digital entertainment (co-organised with Hong Kong Cyberport); and investment opportunities (co-organised with the Hong Kong Financial Services Development Council).

The city’s digital entrepreneurs addressed the “Growing Businesses in the New Economy” session, with moderator Kent Ho, Founder and General Partner, S28 Capital, and panellists Duncan Chiu, Co-founder & Managing Director, Radiant Venture Capital; Jimmy Tao, CEO & Managing Director, Vitargent Biotechnology; and Yangbin Wang, Executive Director and CEO, Vobile Group, who offered insights on the evolving digital and economic landscape in Asia. The panellists also told delegates how they leveraged Hong Kong as a hub for start-ups and entrepreneurs to succeed.

Start-up incubator

InnoVenture Salon – a mini-exhibition featuring some of Hong Kong hottest start-ups – showcased the innovative business ideas and entrepreneurship of 30 companies, including those from Cyberport, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP) and the HKTDC’s start-up development programme, Start-up Express. Cyberport, Hong Kong Science Park and the Hong Kong Private Equity and Venture Capital Association were also on site to offer consultation to US-based start-ups looking to set up operations in Hong Kong.

Led by the HKTDC, with Cyberport and HKSTP as strategic partners, 25 Hong Kong business and start-up representatives from sectors including smart-city development, fintech, the Internet of Things, education technology, health technology and robotic technology formed a business mission to San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles. The mission explored opportunities in innovation and technology presented by closer cooperation between Southern California and Hong Kong, two of the world’s most dynamic start-up ecosystems. 

Dinner offers unique networking opportunities

The day before the symposium, a high-level gala dinner at Vibiana, a renowned event space in Los Angeles, drew more than 400 prominent business leaders, government officials, entrepreneurs and investors from the US and Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Michelin-starred chef Albert Au presented a special menu prepared together with LA celebrity chef Neal Fraser, owner of Vibiana. The gala dinner also featured a performance by Hong Kong-born American singer Coco Lee, the first Chinese artist to perform at the Oscars.

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