Hong Kong – SFST’s speech at Hong Kong Spring Reception in Chicago (English only) (with photo)

SFST’s speech at Hong Kong Spring Reception in Chicago (English only) (with photo)


     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui, at the Hong Kong Spring Reception in Chicago, the United States (US) yesterday (April 11, Chicago time):
     Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, friends of Hong Kong,
     It gives me great pleasure to join you tonight at the Hong Kong Spring Reception, co-hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council in Chicago.
     Spring is the season of renewal. Spirits are high and people are looking forward with keen anticipation to the year ahead. As we welcome the arrival of a new season, Hong Kong is also nurturing fresh vitality and prosperity.
     As the events capital of Asia, Hong Kong stands as a compact, globally connected city that is increasingly attracting world-class mega events. In the first half of 2024 alone, more than 80 mega events have been or will be held in Hong Kong, including notable ones such as the Financial Mega Event Week, the ComplexCon Hong Kong, Art Basel Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, and many more.
     Our economy is gaining momentum as well. The Hong Kong economy rebounded in 2023 with real GDP (gross domestic product) growth resuming at 3.2 per cent. It is projected to further expand in 2024, with growth of 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent in real terms for the year as a whole.
     Hong Kong’s air passenger traffic has recovered to 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Our various talent admission schemes have attracted over 250 000 applications since the end of 2022, including 70 000 submissions through the Top Talent Pass Scheme.
     Banking deposits in Hong Kong exceeded US$2 trillion at the end of 2023. That’s around 17 per cent higher than the pre-Covid level. Hong Kong remains Asia’s leading asset and wealth management centre, managing close to US$4 trillion in assets.  We are also Asia’s largest hedge fund hub and the second-largest private equity centre.
     Hong Kong has established itself as a leader in green and sustainable finance in Asia. In 2022, we captured over one-third of the market share as a green and sustainable bond arranger in the region. To support this burgeoning industry, the Hong Kong Government has implemented the impactful Green and Sustainable Finance Grant Scheme. This programme has already provided subsidies to eligible bond issuers and loan borrowers, facilitating the issuance of more than 340 green and sustainable debt instruments valued at over US$100 billion. Recently in March, we released a vision statement to outline how we will assist companies and financial institutions in enhancing their sustainability reporting and data analysis practices. This statement elucidates our strategic priority of promoting green and sustainable finance as a key driver for the future. Hong Kong is firmly committed to cementing our position as a leading centre for sustainable finance in Asia. In fact, this is a key area in which I see many opportunities for co-operation between Hong Kong and the US.
     Our long-standing bilateral trade relations with the US remain strong despite geopolitical tensions and economic headwinds. The US is Hong Kong’s third-largest trading partner, and Hong Kong is the second-largest trading partner economy with which the US enjoys a trade surplus. At last count, there are close to 1 300 US firms in Hong Kong. 
     Spring is also a time to sow the seeds for future growth. In his 2024-25 Hong Kong Budget unveiled in February, the Financial Secretary introduced a raft of measures to bolster confidence and create favourable conditions for Hong Kong’s economic development.
     A series of targeted measures were announced alongside the Budget, which aims at continuing to attract enterprises, capital and talent on all fronts, and support businesses and people’s livelihoods.
     Ladies and gentlemen, spring is also a season of hope. It is my sincere hope that we can continue our collaborative efforts to strengthen the ties between Hong Kong and the United States.
     Last but not least, I’d like to wish you and your families good health, good fortune, and success in the new year. Thank you.

Hong Kong – SFST’s keynote speech at Hong Kong Business Association Vietnam Christmas Dinner in Vietnam (English only) (with photo)

SFST’s keynote speech at Hong Kong Business Association Vietnam Christmas Dinner in Vietnam (English only) (with photo)


     Following is the keynote speech by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui, at the Hong Kong Business Association Vietnam (HKBAV) Christmas Dinner in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam today (December 13, Vietnam time):
Michael (Chairman of the HKBAV, Mr Michael Chiu), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. It is my great pleasure to join you at the Hong Kong Business Association Vietnam Christmas Dinner tonight. The HKBAV is an established and active association of Hong Kong businesses in Vietnam with members of all nationalities who are interested in having business relations with Hong Kong. I heard from Owin, Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) that the HKBAV has partnered with the HKETO in organising a number of successful events in strengthening the Hong Kong/Vietnam connection. My sincere thanks to the HKBAV for your meaningful work.

     Vietnam always gives me a good and strong impression – not only its delicious Vietnamese spring roll, coffee and value-for-money French cuisines, but more importantly the conscientious working attitude of Vietnamese people and outward looking vision of Vietnamese businessmen. No wonder Vietnam’s economy has been growing fast in recent years – 8 per cent in 2022 and 5.3 per cent in the first nine months this year, despite the global economic slowdown arising from various factors including global interest rate hikes and geopolitical tensions.  

     To grow your business further, going regional and global will be a natural development. In the process, Hong Kong is your valuable partner to help you venture abroad. Firstly, Hong Kong and Vietnam already have a strong base of economic co-operation to start with.  
     Economic relations between Vietnam and Hong Kong is steadfast and close. In 2022, Vietnam was Hong Kong’s seventh-largest trading partner in trade in goods amounting to US$32.7 billion. The average annual growth rate was 14.5 per cent from 2018 to 2022. Vietnam was Hong Kong’s second-largest supplier of rice. Hong Kong’s businessmen are active in doing business and investing in Vietnam. Hong Kong is the fifth-largest foreign investor in Vietnam.  
International financial centre

     Hong Kong has the strength and capacity to assist Vietnamese companies in expanding their businesses in the region. Being a well-known international financial centre, Hong Kong has deep and sophisticated stock and bond markets, as well as a vibrant ecosystem of venture capital, private equity and asset management firms. They are to serve the funding needs of enterprises and governments ranging from business expansion, infrastructure development to green transition.  
     Hong Kong’s financial markets are deep and wide, both in terms of capital and talent. Seventy-three of the top 100 global banks, and 12 of the world’s top 20 insurance companies, operate in Hong Kong. Our stock market has a capitalisation of more than US$4.5 trillion, about 13 times our GDP (gross domestic product). Last year, Hong Kong raised a total of US$13.4 billion of funds through initial public offerings (IPOs), continuing to be one of the top fund raising hubs. Some US$200 billion in bonds were issued, and we topped Asia in terms of international bonds arranged by Asian entities.

     Closely following the global advancement, Hong Kong’s economy is highly digitised. We have a world-class fintech infrastructure with robust regulatory environment. About 1 000 fintech companies and start-ups are operating in Hong Kong, including virtual banks, virtual insurers and virtual asset trading platforms.  

     Holding the special status of Special Administrative Region of China, Hong Kong enjoys a unique advantage in connecting with the Chinese capital market. Hong Kong’s various mutual market access schemes with the Chinese Mainland include Bond Connect, Stock Connect, Wealth Management Connect, and the HKD (Hong Kong Dollar)-RMB (Renminbi) Dual Counter Model in the stock exchange. Hong Kong is also the world’s offshore RMB business hub. We hold about one trillion in RMB deposits, the largest offshore RMB liquidity pool in the world. We handle 75 per cent of the world’s offshore RMB payments. These establish Hong Kong’s status as the premier gateway for overseas investors to enter the Mainland financial markets.

Family offices

     Hong Kong is a premier hub for family offices. We welcome family offices from around the world to set up in Hong Kong, to tap into our unique advantages and far-reaching investment opportunities. Our financial professionals in asset and wealth management will serve you well. 

     The Government has consistently taken a multipronged approach to create a conducive business environment for family offices. In March this year, we issued the Policy Statement on Developing Family Office Businesses in Hong Kong to set out our policy stance and measures. Notable examples include the tax exemption regime launched this year for family-owned investment holding vehicles managed by single family offices in Hong Kong, and the launch of a new Network of Family Office Service Providers to bring together relevant professional services providers and create more business opportunities.

Rule of law

     Confidence matters when you consider where to conduct your business and where to put your money. Hong Kong has a long-established common law system and has been upholding the rule of law and independent judiciary for years. This should give you the confidence and trust. This year’s Rule of Law Index by the World Justice Project makes clear. The global Index ranked Hong Kong the 23rd out of 142 countries and jurisdictions. For comparison, the UK (United Kingdom) finished 15th and the United States 26th. The judiciary in Hong Kong, let me add, continues to exercise its powers independently.

“One country, two systems” principle

     The “one country, two systems” principle is the institutional strength of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is part of China, and we have easy access to the Mainland market. But at the same time, we are operating on different economic and legal systems that distinguish us from the rest of the country. That allows us to continue to positively engage with international communities. Hong Kong continues to be a free port with free flow of goods, capital, talent, as well as data. The Chinese Mainland Government has been reiterating that the principle is good. Chinese President Xi Jinping has said on several occasions over the past year, the principle is here to stay in the long run.

     The 14th Five-Year Plan of China acknowledges the significant functions and positioning of Hong Kong in the overall development of the country. It supports Hong Kong to enhance its status as an international financial centre, strengthen its status as a global offshore RMB business hub, an international asset management centre and a risk management centre, as well as deepen and widen the mutual access between the financial markets of Hong Kong and the Mainland.


     The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) comprises the two Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao, and the nine municipalities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing in Guangdong Province of China. The total population in the GBA is over 86 million with a sizeable middle class. Its GDP is over RMB13 trillion (US$1.9 trillion) in 2022, equivalent to the 12th largest economy in the world. The GBA offers tremendous business and investment opportunities. The development of the GBA is accorded the status of key strategic planning in China’s development blueprint, having great significance in the country’s commitment to continue to reform and open up.

     Being the most open and internationalised city in the GBA, Hong Kong plays an important and irreplaceable role in the GBA development, and stands to benefit. 

     I encourage all Vietnamese companies to tap into the business and investment opportunities in Hong Kong and through Hong Kong to other markets including the GBA.  

     We are aware that the entrance visa requirements between Hong Kong and Vietnam have been causing inconvenience to business travellers and tourists. Addressing this long existing issue, we announced two months ago certain relaxation and facilitation measures to visitors from Vietnam. These include extending the issue of a multiple visa of validity of 24 months with at most 14 days for each stay to Vietnamese nationals who have (a) gone for at least three trips to at least two countries/territories in the past 36 months, or (b) visited Hong Kong for employment, training, staying or studying in the past 24 months. At the same time, we have also relaxed the visa policy for allowing Vietnamese nationals to work and study in Hong Kong.

     When you think about bringing your business overseas, do count on Hong Kong as your trustworthy partner. Together, we make a difference.  

     Thank you. Have an enjoyable dinner and a merry Christmas and happy New Year around the corner.

Hong Kong – Acting SFST’s speech at MPF Symposium 2023 (English only) (with photo)

Acting SFST’s speech at MPF Symposium 2023 (English only) (with photo)


     Following is the keynote speech by the Acting Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Joseph Chan, at the MPF Symposium 2023 today (December 12):
Ayesha (Chairman of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA), Mrs Ayesha Macpherson Lau), Yan-chee (Managing Director and Executive Director of the MPFA, Mr Cheng Yan-chee), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good afternoon.
     It is my great pleasure to address you for the MPF Symposium 2023. This is a great platform where industry leaders gathered to exchange views on this symposium’s theme, the future of MPFTech.
     With the continuous effort of both the Government and the community over the past years, with the MPFA together, our MPF system maintains a steady progress and growth. As at end-September this year, there were over 4.6 million scheme members in the MPF system, involving over 11 million accounts, 404 constituent funds, and 26 schemes managed by 13 trustees, and some $80 billion contributions each year. Besides, the total MPF assets amounted to around $1,088 billion. Forty-three per cent of the assets were invested in equity funds, and 34 per cent in mixed assets funds. The net annualised internal rate of return since 2000 was 2.2 per cent, higher than the inflation rate over the same period of 1.8 per cent.
     Under a challenging economic environment and a highly volatile market, the MPF system recorded a negative return of 5.9 per cent in the financial year of 2022-23. Nonetheless, we must not lose sight of the design and objective of the MPF as a long-term savings and investment scheme in the overall framework of retirement protection. We should focus on the long-term investment returns, rather than investment performance in individual years or short-term market fluctuations. Indeed, the MPF system has recorded positive return in 14 years since its inception in 2000. Driven by the compounding effect and dollar cost averaging principles, the cost price of purchasing fund units will be evened out, mitigating the impact of short-term market fluctuations on long-term investment returns.
     A financially secured retirement is probably everyone’s ultimate goal after having worked diligently for almost half of their life. To enhance retirement savings of employees, driving fee reductions has always been one of the top priorities under the MPF system. We launched the fee-controlled Default Investment Strategy (DIS) back in 2017 with the feature of “automatic de-risking”, aiming to reduce the investment risks faced by members when they are approaching retirement age and suiting for long-term retirement savings investment. Looking into the development of DIS, around 28 per cent of MPF accounts have chosen DIS funds as at end-September this year.
     Over the years, the average fund expense ratio (FER), which reflects the level of MPF charges, has dropped by around 36 per cent from 2.1 per cent in 2007 to a new low of only 1.35 per cent at the end of September this year. In addition, 30 per cent of MPF constituent funds are now charging an FER of less than 1 per cent. We believe DIS has a positive effect in bringing down fees of other MPF funds. In addition, enhancement has been made on increasing the transparency of fees and costs of the MPF system to enable easy comparison by scheme members and increase market competition.
     The Government and the MPFA endeavour to improve the adequacy of the MPF System by diversifying MPF investment. Several measures on risk diversification and investment optimisation have been carried out in recent years. For instance, as earlier in 2012, we launched the “Employee Choice Arrangement”, commonly known as “MPF Semi-portability”, with a view to giving employees more autonomy in handling their MPF investment. In 2020, we included the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges in the list of “Approved Stock Exchanges” to facilitate MPF investment in China A-shares. In June last year, we added the Central People’s Government’s central bank and the three Mainland policy banks in the list of “exempt authority” to facilitate MPF investment in sovereign bonds and enhance investment rules. In November last year, we refined the approval criteria for new constituent funds to enhance requirements for coverage and diversification in relation to the existing range of constituent funds, and to encourage investment in single country equity funds and specialty funds (e.g. ESG-themed funds, sector funds).
     As announced in the 2023-24 Budget by the Financial Secretary, there are further initiatives in the pipeline to meet the growing aspirations for stable MPF funds. As an initial step, a certain proportion of the future issuances of government green bonds and infrastructure bonds will be earmarked for priority investment by MPF funds, thereby providing scheme members an additional investment option. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the MPFA are also looking into the establishment of an MPF fund with stable return at low cost.
     With the constant reviews and reform measures, we will continue to collaborate closely with stakeholders to promote market competition in the MPF industry, drive down fees, improve MPF investment choices and returns, and strengthen the scheme members’ selection and management of their own retirement benefits.
     Today’s theme is the future of MPFTech. Indeed, enhancement on technology is our key strategy echoing with the global trend and our expectation in boosting efficiency. The MPFA is pressing ahead with the development of the eMPF Platform, a centralised and integrated electronic platform to standardise, streamline and automate the administration processes of MPF schemes, thereby enhancing and revamping operational efficiency of the MPF system, reducing administration costs for millions of scheme members and improving user experience.
     We expect that the average MPF administration fee will reduce by around 30 per cent during the first two years of operation of the eMPF Platform, and will continue to drop steadily thereafter, with a view to achieving total cumulative cost savings of $30 to $40 billion for scheme members during the first 10 years of operation of the eMPF Platform. A drastic reduction in administrative burden that the industry could then redeploy its resources to other value-adding areas, such as optimising investment management and retirement planning services, for the benefit of scheme members.
     At the viewpoint of user experience, the eMPF Platform will serve as a one-stop shop for performing various MPF administration functions, ranging from accessing account details, switching funds, consolidating accounts, withdrawing MPF benefits, and comparing performance and expense of different MPF funds, etc.
     Paving the way for future reforms and evolution of the MPF system, we believe that with more accessible information, the eMPF Platform further connects employers, employees and MPF intermediaries, and drives healthy competition among MPF trustees in benefitting scheme members, as well as enhancing user experience and driving greater efficiency.
     With the phased implementation of the eMPF Platform, scheme members could manage their MPF accounts with greater convenience on a real-time, secure and paperless basis. As pledged in the Chief Executive’s 2023 Policy Address, we target to commence phased onboarding of MPF trustees to the Platform in early 2024 and achieve full implementation in 2025.
     Ladies and gentlemen, the Government and the MPFA will continue to develop and improve our MPF system for the retirement benefits of Hong Kong’s working population. Throughout the process, we will continue to work closely with you, market participants and industry stakeholders.
     On this note, I would like to thank all of you for your staunch support and ongoing contribution to Hong Kong’s future. I wish to express my gratitude to the MPFA for organising today’s symposium. I wish you all the best of health in the year to come. Thank you.

Hong Kong – SFST’s speech at SFC Forum on Sustainability Disclosures: Developing a Local Ecosystem with World-class Regulation (English only)

SFST’s speech at SFC Forum on Sustainability Disclosures: Developing a Local Ecosystem with World-class Regulation (English only)


     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui, at the SFC Forum on Sustainability Disclosures: Developing a Local Ecosystem with World-class Regulation today (November 13):
Julia (Chief Executive Officer of the Securities and Futures Commission, Ms Julia Leung), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good morning. It is my pleasure to welcome you all at the SFC Forum on Sustainability Disclosures. This platform, hosted by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), is designed to bring together thought leaders and industry experts to deliberate on the creation of a robust and effective ecosystem for sustainability disclosures.
     In recent years, we’ve observed a significant shift in business paradigms across all sectors. The focus on sustainable development is no longer an option; it’s a necessity for business continuity and success. The emphasis on this trend is reflected in a research report published just last month. The study reveals that about 65 per cent of enterprises in the Greater Bay Area have integrated green and sustainable development practices into their business operations. Moreover, about 70 per cent have expressed their intent to increase their usage of Hong Kong’s green products and services over the next two years. The most encouraging fact is that the majority of these enterprises have reported a positive impact on their business operations due to the adoption of these green practices.
     Investors, too, are becoming increasingly conscious of the impacts of climate change on their investments. They are seeking more accurate, consistent, and relevant information to understand how climate change influences business operations, assets, and financial conditions. Recognising this timely need, we believe this is the opportune moment for Hong Kong to establish an ecosystem for sustainability disclosures.
     Rest assured that our commitment extends to establishing world-class regulation that aligns with global standards. On this, “The Chief Executive’s 2023 Policy Address” announced our collaborative work with relevant financial regulators and stakeholders to develop a roadmap. This roadmap will guide the adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Sustainability Disclosure Standards (SDS) for Hong Kong’s financial services, aligning them with international standards. A working group, chaired by the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau and the SFC, with the participation of relevant financial regulators and major stakeholders, has been set up to identify the elements that this roadmap should encompass.
     In recent months, we’ve witnessed an acceleration in both local and international advancements towards sustainable development. Key among these is the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited’s consultation on enhancing climate-related reporting requirements, as well as the publication and endorsement by the International Organization of Securities Commissions of the final IFRS SDS. Marking another significant stride, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has also initiated consultation on the draft International Standard on Sustainability Assurance (ISSA 5000).
     This forum serves as a timely platform to raise awareness and build capacity for the industry on these developments, particularly on the IFRS SDS. Released in June this year by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), these standards aim to create a global baseline that cater to both investors and companies, thereby bolstering international capital markets. They represent an important step forward in ESG (environmental, social and governance) approaches, seeking to establish order amid the rapidly evolving landscape of sustainability disclosures. The Standards are designed to consolidate various existing disclosure frameworks and apply across industries, geographies, and accounting principles.
     The IFRS SDS, structured around four content areas – governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets, consolidates existing disclosure regimes and acknowledges diverse elements of frameworks and recommendations from other organisations. They have won widespread international support from investors, companies, policymakers, market regulators, and other parties including the G20 and G7 leaders. In addition to Hong Kong, a number of jurisdictions, such as Mainland China, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Japan, among others, have already signalled intentions to adopt the Standards.
     The creation of a single, globally recognised set of investor-focused sustainability-related disclosures is truly a momentous development. It fosters the availability of transparent, comparable, and reliable sustainability information, which is vital for financial intermediaries and global investors to fulfil their obligations to stakeholders on carbon emissions reduction and meet regulators’ requirements. As an international financial centre, Hong Kong needs to align its corporate sustainability-related disclosures with the global baseline. The provision of high-quality, internationally comparable sustainability disclosures is essential to climate risk evaluation and progressive business development.
     As the COP28 conference is scheduled to commence on the 30th of this month in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), I eagerly anticipate the global dialogues and collaborations this event will inspire on sustainability disclosure. It will call on global partnership to advance the climate talks and drive action toward preserving our planet.
     Reflecting back on COP27 held in Egypt last year, it’s evident that the landscape of sustainability disclosure has evolved significantly. The ISSB’s publication of the Sustainability Disclosure Standards (SDSs), which we’re discussing today, stands as a prominent milestone. 
     This July, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) rolled out its Sustainable Finance Regulatory Framework, comprising the region’s most comprehensive ESG disclosure requirements and a regulatory framework. This is designed to accelerate the transition of the UAE to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. These measures resonate with the ADGM’s steadfast commitment to green transformation, creating a harmonious backdrop as the UAE gears up to host COP28. The immediate implementation of these new regulations also highlights the pressing need to promote the green agenda, not only within Abu Dhabi and the UAE, but globally as well.
     In the midst of these strides, I eagerly await what comes next. Hong Kong, as an international financial centre, a global offshore Renminbi (RMB) business hub and a global asset and wealth management centre, will play a significant role of green transformation in the region, Asia and beyond. Our role is facilitated by the alignment of international capital with high-quality green projects.
     Given the dedication of the Middle East and countries along the Belt and Road to green transformation, I foresee a wealth of co-operative opportunities. For instance, in September, I visited Qatar and Egypt, inviting them to explore the possibility of issuing Renminbi-denominated green, blue or social bonds in Hong Kong, so as to bring in more international capital interested in green and sustainable finance through our market.
     Alongside sustainability disclosure, we have taken a multipronged strategy to propel low-carbon transformation and promote green and sustainable finance in Hong Kong. This strategy is framed around three pillars: establishing ambitious targets, leveraging our robust financial markets, and nurturing a proficient talent pool.
     Our goal is bold and clear: to halve carbon emissions by 2035 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. To this end, we capitalise on Hong Kong’s robust financial infrastructure and leverage it as a platform for green investment and financing, such as issuing government green bonds. Since 2019, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has issued some US$24 billion worth of government green bonds, including two mega-scale triple-currency offerings denominated in RMB, Euro and US dollars in January and June this year, marking the largest ESG bond issuance in Asia.
     We also aim to expand the capacity of Core Climate, the international carbon marketplace, and persist in our pursuit of collaborations that will help evolve Hong Kong into a global market for high-quality voluntary carbon credits. Recent development, such as the Ministry of Ecology and Environment’s announcement of the China Certified Emissions Reductions relaunch last month, is encouraging. This official relaunch is expected to inject new vitality into the carbon market in our country. It also sets the stage for exploring potential collaborations in carbon finance, thereby unveiling opportunities that could cultivate synergy and significantly contribute to our country’s green transformation.
     On capacity building, we will continue to encourage the participation of market practitioners and related professionals in training through the Pilot Green and Sustainable Finance Capacity Building Support Scheme.
     Another critical focus area is green fintech which holds a prominent position on our priority list. To better integrate our advantages in green finance and fintech, we will launch a dedicated proof-of-concept subsidy scheme for green fintech in the first half of 2024. The new scheme will promote the development of technological solutions and provide early-stage funding support for pre-commercialised green fintech, conducive to expanding the green fintech ecosystem and developing Hong Kong into a green fintech hub.
     Furthermore, we are actively engaging with relevant stakeholders to develop and publish a Green Fintech Map to raise the profile of firms in this sector and support the development of green fintech in Hong Kong.
     Ladies and Gentlemen, the HKSAR Government will continue to work closely with you all, the market practitioners and relevant stakeholders in our collective pursuit of sustainable development. Today’s forum is designed to harvest market insights and opinions on the cornerstone elements of Hong Kong’s sustainability disclosure ecosystem. This includes discussions on the pivotal role of Hong Kong in supporting regional transition needs and strategies to optimally leverage our connectivity with the Mainland. The dialogues will offer insights to guide policy formulation by the relevant authorities and contribute to Hong Kong’s sustainability roadmap. I am confident that today’s conference will be both enlightening and productive for everyone present. As we prepare to delve into these significant discussions, may I also wish you all a thriving and sustainable future. Thank you.

Hong Kong – SFST’s speech at Launching and Inauguration Ceremony of Hong Kong-Middle East Business Chamber (English only)

SFST’s speech at Launching and Inauguration Ceremony of Hong Kong-Middle East Business Chamber (English only)


     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui, at the Launching and Inauguration Ceremony of the Hong Kong – Middle East Business Chamber today (July 7):
Your Excellency (Mr Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy of the United Arab Emirates), Dr Aaron Shum (Founding President of Hong Kong-Middle East Business Chamber), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Hello everyone. I’m delighted to attend the launching and inauguration ceremony of the Hong Kong-Middle East Business Chamber today. I am also very glad to see more business leaders setting up organisations to seize the wave of economic and trade collaboration opportunities with the Middle East region, actively exploring more initiatives for mutual development at a time when Hong Kong and the Middle East are becoming increasingly close.
     Recently, there have been many good news items. Earlier this month, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology of Saudi Arabia visited Hong Kong, highlighting plans to deepen co-operation with Hong Kong in key areas such as fintech, technological entrepreneurship and venture capital, using Hong Kong as a bridge to Mainland China, and seeking diversified development with a view to aligning with Saudi Arabia’s transformation under the Vision 2030 plan. The Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneurs Association (SCEA) also announced the establishment of its head office in Hong Kong, supporting the exchanges and collaborations between Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area and Saudi Arabia. In addition, 11 local technology companies and investment institutions recently signed memorandums of understanding to enter the Middle East market. All these developments demonstrate the deepening friendship and co-operation between Hong Kong and the Middle East, and thus the establishment of the Hong Kong-Middle East Business Chamber at this juncture is a great opportunity to promote closer co-operation in trade, investment, and technological innovation, as well as to foster cultural exchanges between the two places, injecting momentum for the development of both sides.
     Earlier this year, I accompanied the Chief Executive on a visit to the Middle East. It was a journey of friendship, promoting Hong Kong’s advantages, and exploring business opportunities, which strived to elevate the relationship between Hong Kong and the Middle East region to new heights, expanding Hong Kong’s co-operation with countries under the Belt and Road Initiative. We facilitated the signing of 13 memorandums of understanding and agreements covering various areas of co-operation, including trade, finance, energy, transportation, and technology, and we are now actively following up on the plans of major institutions in the Middle East to settle or expand their businesses in Hong Kong. I am delighted to see more co-operation between the two places being implemented and I look forward to further co-operation in technology, commerce and investment in the future.
     The Government will host the Belt and Road Summit from September 13 to 14 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. This year’s summit will feature a dedicated Middle East session for the first time, providing opportunities for businesses and investors to discuss co-operation with partners from Middle Eastern countries.
     Looking ahead, the prospects for collaboration between Hong Kong and the Middle East are vast. Under “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong enjoys strong support from the motherland while possessing unique advantages that seamlessly connect us to the world. Coupled with the free flow of information and capital, Hong Kong has become one of the most free and vibrant economies globally. Middle Eastern investors can find unlimited opportunities here in Hong Kong. Our market is not only a bridge to the Mainland but also one of the growth engines for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, creating an attractive development platform for investors around the world.
     In closing, I once again congratulate the establishment of the Hong Kong-Middle East Business Chamber and look forward to the Chamber playing an active role in promoting friendship and collaboration between Hong Kong and the Middle East. Thank you.