China’s ‘One Belt’ strategy: Can Hong Kong be the “super-connector” in new Chinese Global Economy?

By Denise Tsang
South China Morning Post

Businessman Allan Zeman believes Beijing is the super-connector, not Hong Kong. Photo by Sam Tsang, SCMP

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s desire to position Hong Kong as “a super-connector” in Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” trade strategy triggered heated debate at a forum yesterday on how the city can cash in.

Leung said Hong Kong needed to know more about the 60 countries located along the old Silk Road economic belt and the “Maritime Silk Road”.

He said the city’s legal and financial systems and deepened economic integration across the border meant Hong Kong could serve as a platform in conducting and connecting businesses.

But Allan Zeman, chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Holdings, said the real super-connector was Beijing, the architect of the trade initiative.

“In everybody’s mind, China is really the super-connector,” Zeman said.

“Hong Kong is trying to promote itself as the super-connector, but the biggest question or problem is how to get the people to come here as they speak different languages, have different cultures, different ways of doing business and different legal systems.”

Since the trade strategy was unveiled by President Xi Jinping in September last year, there has been much talk of the ample opportunities, ranging from banking and finance to logistics, up for grabs for the city.

Beijing announced last night after its fifth plenum meeting that the functions and positions of Hong Kong and Macau would be elevated during the nation’s pursuit of “One Belt, One Road”.

Leung said the Hong Kong Trade Development Council was seeking to add more overseas offices while a series of global forums on the subject would be held in the city next year.

He said the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau would restructure its portfolio and pass some parts of its job to the proposed innovation and technology bureau to facilitate the “One Belt, One Road” development.

Leung said Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah was planning to lead a business delegation to Central Asia, his second fact-finding trip after leading a mission to Hungary, Poland and Germany last month.

“We are in a ‘how’ mode,” Leung said.

Victor Fung Kwok-king, chairman of global supply chain operator Fung Group, said the winners in the trade initiative would be those who could come up with innovative business models.

“How do we get into the new markets which are developing?” he asked. “The question is how to deal with many SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises], make good use of technology and innovate business models.”

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s lawmakers yesterday passed a motion to pursue opportunities arising from the “One Belt, One Road” plan to inject growth impetus into the city.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung said near-term efforts would focus on researching new markets.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as HK’s role in ‘One Belt’ strategy prompts debate

China sees the South China Sea as the necessary launching point of the New Silk Road — and the China Dream.




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One Response to “China’s ‘One Belt’ strategy: Can Hong Kong be the “super-connector” in new Chinese Global Economy?”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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