Trade tour set to make a splash in America

New Hong Kong promotion campaign attracts keen interest from US businesses

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 June, 2013, 4:15am

A large number of American firms could set up offices in Hong Kong in the coming year, going by the interest generated in the run-up to the city's largest-ever promotion campaign in the United States.

The Trade Development Council, which will lead a delegation of over 200 prominent businessmen and government officials to New York and Los Angeles on Monday, said 620 US enterprises had already expressed interest in doing business with Hong Kong.

Even if only a tenth of them end up coming to Hong Kong, it would still mark a significant growth in investment, said Andrew Davis, associate director general of InvestHK that is following up on the inquiries. Last year, 54 US companies set up offices in the city.

Jenny Koo, director of service promotion at TDC, said it could garner more investments than that generated by the "Think Asia, Think HK" campaign in Britain and Japan.

Koo said that while the US is Hong Kong's second-largest trading partner, there is still a lot of potential for growth as less than 1 per cent of America's 28 million firms are involved in exports, and of the 280,000 US exporters, only a tenth of them have trade connections with China.

Eric Crowley, commercial consul at the US consulate, said they are focusing on helping small and medium-sized American enterprises tap the Asian market through Hong Kong.

"The US$15 trillion domestic market is big enough for most of these enterprises but with increased globalisation and the government's initiatives to double trade by the end of 2014, I think we should educate them about the chances out here," Crowley said.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is among the guest speakers at a New York symposium planned by TDC, while business-matching sessions will be held in sectors like fashion, wine and technology. Over 3,000 US enterprises have signed up for the event.