Hong Kong firms sign agreements worth HK$159 billion with companies in China’s Sichuan province under Belt and Road Initiative

Shui On Group and Standard Chartered Hong Kong among big names inking deals

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 August, 2017, 4:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 August, 2017, 10:50pm

Hong Kong businesses signed agreements worth HK$159 billion on Tuesday with companies in the southwestern province of Sichuan, as part of efforts to boost cooperation under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “belt and road” global trade strategy.

Big names such as property developer Shui On Group and Standard Chartered Hong Kong were among deal makers involved in 26 projects set out at a signing ceremony in the city. More than 90 per cent of the money will be invested in Sichuan.

Covering a range of industries, including finance, media, aviation, agriculture and energy, the projects were expected to pave the way for Hong Kong’s deeper involvement in Beijing’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to link economies across the old Silk Road into a China-centred trading network.

The HK$159 billion includes deals confirmed on Tuesday as well as memorandums of understanding.

“Hong Kong is willing to play its role under the Belt and Road Initiative, and share its international connections and experience with brother provinces on the mainland,” former Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying said at the ceremony, in his new role as vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the nation’s top political advisory body.

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Yin Li, governor of Sichuan, said people in the province were grateful to Hongkongers for their donations towards reconstruction after the devastating earthquake there in 2008, in which more than 68,000 lost their lives.

“People in Sichuan will not forget,” he said.

Hongkongers donated HK$13 billion in the wake of the disaster, which coupled with HK$9 billion from the government brought the total to HK$22 billion.

Yin said the province of more than 80 million people was an ideal place for international investors, and had huge market potential as a gateway to western China – a key area under the Belt and Road Initiative.

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“We expect that Hong Kong will continuously act as a ‘super-connector’ for Sichuan to work with the world, helping more made-in-Sichuan products go out of China,” he said.

Hong Kong is Sichuan’s biggest foreign investor and its fourth largest trading partner.