Hong Kong’s top officials and bosses head to Shanghai for first China International Import Expo to showcase city’s strengths as trade hub

  • Commerce chief Edward Yau says Hong Kong’s participation in expo shows the city’s businesses still have significant role to play in global trade
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 November, 2018, 4:49pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 November, 2018, 5:00pm

Hong Kong’s top officials and businesses are getting ready to showcase the city’s strengths as a global trading hub, as the inaugural China International Import Expo opens in Shanghai on Monday.

President Xi Jinping was expected to give a keynote speech at the opening ceremony at Shanghai’s National Exhibition and Convention Centre, with Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, as well as the city’s financial, commerce and mainland affairs secretaries set to attend.

Before setting off to Shanghai on Sunday, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah said Hong Kong’s participation in the expo showed that the city’s businesses still had a significant role to play in global trade, even though they faced difficulties because of the US-China trade war.

“The import expo … shows that despite the uncertainties, China, as one of the biggest markets in the world, is willing to open its doors,” Yau said.

“As our country’s doors continue to be open, Hong Kong’s business sector will have great potential … Hong Kong can also give full play to its role as a major import and export gateway between the country and the world,” he said, adding that he planned to meet trade ministers from Britain and Peru to discuss commerce issues.

China hopes mutual respect will help end US trade war

A total of 2,800 companies from 130 countries were expected to take part in the expo from November 5-10, including more than 160 businesses from Hong Kong.

There is also a Hong Kong exhibition area, at the China pavilion, to showcase the city’s major infrastructure projects, products and inventions, as well as its participation in national development strategies.

The Hong Kong exhibitors range from food and health product companies, to professional service providers such as construction, logistics, marketing and technology firms.

Exhibitor Ken Wong, who started health supplement firm All Time Healthy in 2014, believed that one of Hong Kong’s strengths was that the city’s brands were known for their quality and reliability.

“Brands of Hong Kong are always seen as reliable … The market has also been growing in mainland China as people are now more conscious of the importance of a healthy diet,” Wong said.

March Richardson, director of branding specialist Sedgwick Richardson, was hoping the expo would help the company learn more about the mainland market.

“We feel sure that demand for branding services in China will continue to grow and Hong Kong companies can provide international perspective and best practice,” she said.

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Business leaders in the Hong Kong delegation also included Fung Group chairman Victor Fung Kwok-king and Herbert Chia, a data expert and venture partner at Sequoia Capital China.

Lam, who recently concluded an official visit to Japan, would speak on Monday at an economic and trade forum, one of the expo’s events.

In the past, China-based trade fairs had emphasised what firms from the country could sell to the world. In contrast, the Shanghai expo, the nation’s biggest trade fair of the year, aimed to tout foreign companies selling to China, especially against the backdrop of the ongoing trade war with the US.