Exhibition & Networking Fosters Transregional Opportunities
Dubai, UAE, 7 November 2016: The fourth edition of the HKTDC Lifestyle Expo in Dubai opened on Sunday and will continue through the day on November 7, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Dubai. Jointly organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and the Department of Commerce of Guangdong Province, the Lifestyle Expo features a wide range of stylish products from over 100 Hong Kong and mainland companies.
A highlight of the event was a networking luncheon organised by the HKTDC and HKSAR government and supported by the Ministry of Economy, United Arab Emirates. The luncheon was attended by The Hon John Tsang, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and His Excellency Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary for Minister of Economy, UAE, and over 300 business leaders.
Belt and Road Opportunities
Speaking at the networking luncheon, Margaret Fong, Executive Director, HKTDC, highlighted the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative and the immense opportunities presented for Hong Kong and Dubai. “Hong Kong and the HKTDC's engagement with the Middle East are set to deepen further as a new 21st Century model for globalisation emerges – a model that takes its cue from the ancient Silk Road and is driven by the new Belt and Road Initiative.”
The China-led Belt and Road Initiative, covers more than 60 countries spanning Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. It represents a huge market of about 4.4 billion potential consumers and accounts for over 35 per cent of global merchandise trade.
Ms Fong added that turning this grand vision into real business deals and economic growth will require a high degree of collaboration. “Hong Kong stands as a pivotal node along the Belt and Road – a city that serves as an entry point to the Chinese mainland and a business and financial centre in Asia, while the UAE is regarded as one of the best positioned countries for implementing the Belt and Road Initiative with its prime location and sophisticated economy.”
Speaking at the networking luncheon, John Tsang, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR Government, said that, given the substantial Muslim population living along the Belt and Road corridors, he expects demand for Islamic financial services to grow quickly. Over the past two years, the HKSAR Government has successfully issued two global sukuk (Islamic bond). “The insurances drew strong interest from the global financial industry and investors in the Middle East, showcasing our financial expertise and economic fundamentals. We are working on our third sukuk.”
“For Hong Kong and the UAE, there is huge and clear synergy in expanding our business collaboration, in fast-tracking our growing ties.” He added that the Comprehensive Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement came into force last December, and he looked forward to signing the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with the UAE in the near future.
High-level delegation to explore opportunities in Dubai
Concurrently, HKSAR Financial Secretary Mr Tsang is leading a high-level delegation to visit Dubai (6-7 November). Business leaders from finance, information and communications technology, infrastructure development and real estate services and logistics sectors form the 30-plus delegation.
Among them are Chairman of Financial Services Development Council Laura Cha, President of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Professor Tony Chan, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of China Mobile International Limited Dr Li Feng, Executive Director of Gammon Construction Limited Kevin O'Brien, Chairman of Crown Worldwide Holdings Limited James Thompson, the Deputy Chairman of Federation of Hong Kong Industries Jimmy Kwok and the Vice Chairman of the Hong Kong Exporters' Association Benson Pau.
MoU strengthens business ties between Hong Kong and UAE
Mr Tsang and H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri have agreed to boost bilateral trade and enhance co-operation to seize the new opportunities under the Belt and Road Initiative in various areas, including finance, logistics and maritime transport, professional services, cross-border investment, infrastructure development and international trade.
In their presence, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Economy, UAE, and Hong Kong Trade Development Council will be signed to promote trade, investment, entrepreneurship, and small and medium-sized enterprise co-operation between Hong Kong and UAE. Under the MoU, Hong Kong and UAE will foster closer cooperation on the Initiative and encourage UAE companies to participate in related activities.
Big on small orders
The Lifestyle Expo features two main zones: the Style zone and the Home and Living zone, showcasing quality products ranging from consumer electronics and ICT products, gifts & premium, household products & electrical appliances to fashion and fashion accessories, and watches & clocks.
In addition, the hktdc.com Small Orders showcase at the expo, allow buyers to place small quantity orders of between five and 1,000 pieces. This enables companies, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, to test the market for new products with minimal risk.
Over 1,000 importers, distributors, mass retailers, mail-order houses, department stores and specialised stores from the UAE, Iran, Africa and other neighbouring countries and regions are taking take part in the two-day Lifestyle Expo in Dubai.
Several e-tailers and importers from the region are taking part at the “reverse exhibition” to meet with Hong Kong and mainland suppliers to explore future cooperation.
Hong Kong-UAE trade links
The UAE is Hong Kong's largest trading partner in the Middle East. The value of total bilateral trade in 2015 was over US$10 billion. In the first nine months in 2016, Hong Kong's exports to the UAE were valued at US$6 billion, representing a 16 per cent year-on-year increase.