November 9, 2023
HONG KONG – Hong Kong officials on Wednesday spoke of the importance of fostering technological strengths in areas such as artificial intelligence, biomedicine, and green tech, to drive the city’s economic growth amid rising geopolitical uncertainty.
Highlighting the rapid development of AI in Hong Kong, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said at the Global Financial Leaders Investment Summit that mainland tech companies are showing strong interest in developing their business in the city as there are no restrictions in accessing international data. Numerous international companies also hope to access Chinese mainland data in the future, he added.
According to Chan, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government has invested more than HK$200 billion ($25.6 billion) to support the development of innovation and technology in the face of a challenging geopolitical environment.
Julia Leung Fung-yee, CEO of the Securities and Futures Commission, said in her speech that the regulator welcomed players in the market using innovative technology in a responsible way while considering how to manage risks
Chan was among the dignitaries to speak at the second edition of the financial gathering hosted by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city’s de facto central bank.
Hong Kong is working toward achieving a cross-border data flow with cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Chan added.
He said that data convergence will benefit various industries and contribute to the development of biomedicine, adding that many leading international pharmaceutical companies are interested in conducting research and development in Hong Kong.
Chan added that Hong Kong has attracted a wealth of scholars and research talents, with various technology companies focused on the vibrant capital market in Hong Kong. More “unicorns” – privately held startups valued at over $1 billion – are expected to blossom in the next five to 10 years.
Acknowledging that geopolitical tensions have brought many challenges, the finance chief said Hong Kong has gone through such cycles in the past and has always maintained its unique advantages.
It can also cope with challenges and find new opportunities, which shows that even though it is now facing more uncertainties and complexities, there are still huge investment opportunities that can bring huge returns, Chan added.
Julia Leung Fung-yee, CEO of the Securities and Futures Commission, said in her speech that the regulator welcomed players in the market using innovative technology in a responsible way while considering how to manage risks.
She said she hoped to learn from new asset management strategies and discussions on the future financial environment to navigate risks in complex environments.
Leung said that the international community is facing a complex environment, which includes the end of an era of low-interest rate policies. As interest rates rise and liquidity tightens, the US dollar has reached a 20-year high. The level and duration of interest rate increases remain unknown, he said.
Heightened geopolitical tensions are also disrupting global supply chains, Leung said, adding that increased national security considerations, trade friction, and technological competition are exacerbating political divisions and accelerating polarization, reducing the space for consensus and presenting an unfavorable situation.
On a positive note, Leung said she believed that the global economic center has been shifting to the Asia-Pacific over the past 20 years. She cited the combined asset value of approximately $20 trillion managed by speakers attending the summit, saying this is proof of Hong Kong’s status as an asset management hub.
As the two-day event drew to a close, Chief Executive of the HKMA Eddie Yue Wai-man described it as a great success with 300 participants from 160 global financial institutions. CEOs and chairpersons from 90 financial giants, including Morgan Stanley, UBS, JPMorgan and Blackstone, attended the summit.
Yue told the media after the summit that seeing the top decision-makers of global financial institutions bringing clients to Hong Kong reflected their confidence in the city and their belief that they would bring capital to Hong Kong when the time is ripe.
When asked about the possibility of making the summit a regular event, Yue said that it is not easy to invite over 100 decision-makers to Hong Kong again. The authorities are considering this matter and collecting opinions from attendees and various sectors.