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Hong Kong lands in Oeiras to promote business opportunities for Portuguese companies

The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of Hong Kong, Christopher Hui, detailed the business opportunities at the conference ‘Business Opportunities in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area’.

Portuguese companies wishing to invest in Hong Kong have an open path to do so. This is one of the conclusions to be drawn from the conference “Business Opportunities in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area”, whose keynote speaker was the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of Hong Kong, Christopher Hui.

The conference was organized by the Oeiras Valley Investment Agency (OVIA), the Portugal – Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Brussels Economic and Trade Office of Hong Kong and the Shenzhen European Office. Forbes Portugal was a media partner and the Portugal-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry also took part. Oeiras Municipality was present through its Deputy Mayor, Francisco Rocha Gonçalves.

The meeting was part of Christopher Hui’s visit to three European countries – Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands – and his visit to Oeiras follows on from OVIA’s tour of Hong Kong, Macau and other cities in China last March.

During the conference, OVIA’s Chairman of the Board, Ambassador António Martins da Cruz, recalled that “Hong Kong is an important financial center not only in Asia but also in the world” and stressed that both this Chinese administrative region and Macau “are important gateways to the Great Bay Area, as well as to the Chinese market, especially for Portuguese companies. They are the platform for Portuguese companies to enter the Chinese markets that are very important to us”.

Martins da Cruz also said that “we believe that Portugal and also Oeiras are the best platforms for Chinese and Hong Kong companies to access not only the Portuguese market but also the European market, as well as the Portuguese-speaking countries that are part of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries platform”. He concluded by saying that “I am sure that Portuguese companies will take advantage of the opportunities that exist not only in Hong Kong but also in Shenzhen”.

In front of an audience of businesspeople from the Oeiras Valley Investment Agency’s sphere of representation and beyond, as well as entities that represent doing business with China, Christopher Hui began by emphasizing that “our economy is also continuing to grow. The region’s economy recorded moderate growth in the first quarter of 2024. Exports of services continued to be an important driver of growth, while total exports of goods continued to improve.”

Growing economy

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury used figures to prove the good economic momentum in the Chinese special administrative region, detailing that “real GDP grew by 2.7% year-on-year, having increased by 4.3% in the previous quarter. In a seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter comparison, real GDP increased by 2.3%”. He added that “exports of services continued to grow by a remarkable 8.4% year-on-year in real terms in the first quarter. Looking ahead, Hong Kong’s economy is expected to record further growth in the remainder of the year.”

He also pointed out that the financial sector is one of Hong Kong’s main assets, not least because the administrative region “continues to be Asia’s leading asset and wealth management center, managing close to four billion dollars in assets. We are also Asia’s largest hedge fund center and the second largest private equity center.” Bank deposits in Hong Kong exceeded two billion dollars at the end of February, a figure around 17% higher than the pre-Covid level.

Taking advantage of the fact that it is “one country, two systems”, among the region’s advantages, the same source stressed that Hong Kong “is a ‘superconnector’ and acts ‘in concert with the strategy of our country and mainland companies to become global, thus creating opportunities for our young people and boosting our social capacity and economic development’.

The 3 D’s of development

Christopher Hui also took the opportunity to share what he calls “the latest development in Hong Kong’s financial services in 3 ‘Ds’”. The first D mentioned by the head of Hong Kong’s Financial Services and Treasury is diversification. This is because, in his words, “as an international risk management center providing a wide range of risk management channels, Hong Kong is striving to diversify its financial services offering, for example by developing RMB business, as we seek to provide a hedge against external economic challenges and uncertainties.”

The second D is decarbonization. “As an international financial center, Hong Kong is actively positioning itself to be the global green financial center. In April, we issued a vision statement on developing a robust sustainability disclosure ecosystem in Hong Kong,” said Christopher Hui. He added that “our goal is to be among the first jurisdictions to align local sustainability reporting requirements with the new disclosure standards of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) – which have been published as a global basis for entities to prepare comparable information on climate and sustainability”.

In times of betting on a greener economy, Christopher Hui revealed that “the total green and sustainable debt (including bonds and loans) issued in Hong Kong exceeded 50 billion dollars in 2023. Among which, the volume of green and sustainable bonds issued in Hong Kong surpassed the Asian market in 2023, accounting for 37% of the total.” Since May 2024, according to the same official, “we have also expanded the scope of the Green Government Bond Program to the Sustainable Government Bond Program, covering more sustainable financing projects.” In addition, in 2024-2025, “we will issue 120 billion dollars in bonds, of which 70 billion will be retail tranches that include 20 billion dollars in green bonds and infrastructure bonds to achieve financial inclusion and increase a ‘sense of participation’ in infrastructure and sustainable development among the public.”

The third D is a mirror of today, digitalization. Christopher Hui explained that this strand includes two main items: virtual assets and fintech. Regarding virtual assets, “we issued a Policy Statement in October 2022, which clearly defines our policy position and approach to the development of Virtual Assets in Hong Kong. Our approach is always clear, focusing on prudent and risk-based regulation.”

As for fintech, “there are currently around a thousand fintech companies operating in the city, covering a diverse range of areas such as mobile payments, cross-border wealth management, AI-powered financial advisory services and regulatory technology.” In his words, there is “a well-developed ecosystem that includes eight virtual banks, four virtual insurance companies and two licensed virtual asset service providers that are redefining traditional financial services”. And he cited a recent market study which concluded that by 2023, “Hong Kong ranked fourth in Asia and ninth globally in terms of fintech investment, entering the global top 10 for the first time”.

Com base em todos estes indicadores, Christopher Hui rematou a sua apresentação com um repto: “gostaria de convidar todos a visitarem Hong Kong.  Mais de 100 megaeventos emocionantes continuarão a acontecer na cidade no segundo semestre do ano, abrangendo eventos culturais, artísticos e criativos; desportos; convenções e exposições; eventos relacionados com finanças, economia, inovação e tecnologia; bem como festivais, celebrações, galas e carnavais”. 

Source: https://www.forbespt.com/hong-kong-aterra-em-oeiras-para-promover-as-oportunidades-de-negocio-para-as-empresas-portuguesas/

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