Hong Kong leader CY Leung brushes aside Belt and Road scepticism, points to success stories

Remarks delivered at forum webcast to local schools and co-organised by four government bureaus

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 June, 2017, 10:11pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 June, 2017, 12:37pm

In a coordinated effort to promote China’s global trade strategy, Hong Kong’s leader has rejected scepticism that the plan is abstract and pointed to success stories involving city residents and firms.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying gave his remarks at a Belt and Road Initiative forum webcast to local schools and co-organised by the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, the Development Bureau, the Education Bureau, the Home Affairs Bureau, and the Belt and Road office.

Visual explainer of the five main projects of the Belt and Road Initiative

The event drew hundreds of attendees as the strategy to open the country’s trade via sea and land routes spanning Asia to Europe was discussed.

“Hong Kong is the most international city along the Belt and Road with definite advantages,” Leung said. “The initiative is not an abstract idea. People are already doing real work on it.”

The initiative is not an abstract idea. People are already doing real work on it
Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong leader

Belt and Road commissioner Yvonne Choi Ying-pik highlighted four cases that illustrated Hong Kong’s strengths in design, information technology, infrastructure and law.

Architect James Law found global fame in designing “The Pad” in Dubai, an intelligent building that he said would be opened by Apple’s CEO.

His designs also included a futuristic building in Mumbai, India, called The Capital. It features a “robotic” car park.

Entrepreneur Jason Chiu, CEO of tech firm Cherrypicks, praised the creativity he said he was able to explore in Belt and Road countries.

“Well before Pokemon Go in 2016, we already used augmented reality in 2012 in a mobile game that allowed users to catch butterflies to claim coupons,” he said. Chiu claimed his game “iButterfly” had been played in counties as far as Turkey.

Hongkonger Glendy Choi, CEO of D and G Technology, said her firm had won three tenders for a motorway linking Pakistan’s north and south, from Lahore to Karachi.

She said her company was already involved in infrastructure works in 23 countries. “The international standards that Hong Kong companies use is a strong competitive advantage.”she added.

Lawyer Conrad Chan, a specialist in Central Asian mining, said many companies needed a “legal opinion” when they sought a public listing and that Hong Kong lawyers excelled at helping.

Alex Wong, an undergraduate business student at the University of Hong Kong, attended the forum and came away encouraged.

“Hong Kong is a mature market, so I think there will be more opportunities in China and Belt and Road countries,” he said.