The many ways companies in Hong Kong and the mainland can collaborate to capture opportunities created by globalisation, innovation and entrepreneurship were the main topics of discussion during a prestigious panel discussion at the second China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) Hong Kong Forum 2017. Organised by the CEIBS Alumni Association Hong Kong and Macao Chapter, more than 400 participants heard insights from academics, financial experts and industrial elites how "mass entrepreneurship and innovation" and "Internet plus" concepts are contributing to the mainland's emerging industries and new economic developments. Forum delegates also heard about the broader challenges faced by a country still in transition and how Hong Kong's well-established capital market, open trade and investment climate and international business networks can play a collaborating role between Hong Kong and the mainland's rapidly expanding innovation-led companies. In his keynote presentation, former Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) chairman and current CEIBS professor Jiang Jianqing cautioned that political and economic uncertainties related to trade protectionism, political disputes in Europe over economic strategies and a push back against globalisation in certain countries pose a risk to global trade and economics. "We should be aware of the risks, which are likely to be a long-term trend, and be fully prepared for difficult events over the next few years," said Jiang, who added that China's banking industry, like the global banking sector, has not yet fully recovered from the impact of the 2008 global financial crisis. Jiang also outlined how the mainland's banking sector needs to respond to changing consumer behaviour and competition from third-party online payment enterprises, new business models and disruptive technologies, which are challenging the roles traditionally dominated by banks. Citing the example of third-party mobile payments, Jiang said in 2016, mobile payment transactions reached 3.8 trillion renminbi (RMB). To remain competitive, Jiang said banks will need to continue enhancing their three core areas of competitiveness: a mature credit system and strong reputation for credibility, high-quality financial data, along with expertise in asset transformation and risk management. "Some banks still operate with a traditional mindset, but this needs to change," said the adjunct CEIBS professor of finance and director of CEIBS Lujiazui Institute of International Finance, a highly regarded think tank. In his welcome address, Dr Snow Zhou, CEIBS assistant president and member of the management committee said amid a shifting global political, economic and technological landscape, the mainland and Hong Kong should be open to change and transformation. "Transformation doesn't mean there's a need for panic, it can also pave the way for opportunities and raise the potential to rethink ways of doing things," he said. CEIBS embraces the concept of internationalisation and new thinking through its "China Depth and Global Breadth" teaching strategy which enables students to understand China in the context of a global economy. Vic Lee, chair, CEIBS Alumni Association Hong Kong and Macau Chapter noted that mainland companies setting up operations in the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park is a good example of Hong Kong and China leveraging mutual strengths. "Hong Kong is well-known for its transparency, market discipline and highly internationalised networks, which can complement the mainland's innovation and high-technology-led market transformation," Lee said. With businesses run by CEIBS alumni already accounting for a significant percentage of the mainland's GDP, Lee said the CEIBS Hong Kong and Macau Chapter would encourage more collaboration between CEIBS alumni and Hong Kong businesses and universities. As a top-tier business school ranked among the best in Asia, CEIBS counts executives of the Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings among its alumni. Meanwhile, keynote speaker Antony Leung Kam-chung, chairman and CEO, Nam Fung Group said as the world enters a conceptual age characterised by combination high-concept, high-touch function and design, Hong Kong is in a position to provide a creative portal between the mainland and the rest of the world. Hong Kong's former financial secretary said advertising, media and entertainment are fast growing conceptual age sectors and conduits for innovation and entrepreneurship. "Hong Kong can develop its innovation creativity in the same way that London and New York are financial hubs, but also known for their creative advertising, media and entertainment industries," said Leung, suggesting that government support for boosting innovation and entrepreneurship in Hong Kong should be considered an investment, not an expenditure. He also highlighted that Hong Kong currently invests 0.7 per cent of GDP to support research and development (R&D), which is less than Israel, South Korea, the US and Singapore and less than Beijing, which spends about 6 per cent of GDP on R&D while even Shenzhen invests about 4 per cent. Explaining how his company was one of China’s first enterprises to make globalisation a major focus of its business growth strategy, TCL Group Chairman Li Dongsheng summarised how two M&A projects in 2003 laid the foundation for TCL’s future success in its Smartphone and television businesses. TCL is one of the world's top three global television manufacturers and a leading manufacturer of smartphones. “People were wondering whether TCL would be a martyr or a pioneer in overseas M&As. I told them that one cannot be a successful pioneer without possessing the bravery of a martyr,” said Li, who believes that China's breakthrough in key technologies have helped the country to become a world leader in the field of high-speed railways, semiconductors and telecommunications. He also told the audience he feels positive that Hong Kong has what it takes to build on its creative strengths. "Hong Kong has strong support from the mainland and needs to leverage on this support to develop its own characteristics," Li said. During a discussion focusing on ''opportunities for entrepreneurship and investment in the smart manufacturing industry", panel members gave examples of how Chinese enterprises have become adept at augmenting new technologies. Panel members Hung Zhengcong, chairman, Guangzhou Shiyuan Electronic Co, Neko Chen, general manager of the Midea Group's Smart Manufacturing Cloud Division, Zhang Yongqian, vice president, Horizen (correct) Robotics and Huang He, partner, Northern Light Venture Capital explained how new technologies are being utilised to reduce costs and increases efficiencies. Importantly, the panelistss pointed out that innovative solutions and the application of technology are being transferred between manufacturing sectors to solve common challenges and increase efficiencies along the extended value chain.