John Lee’s 2023 Middle East work tripi

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee is leading a 30-strong delegation on a week-long work trip to the Middle East to forge close economic ties with Gulf states. The high-level visit comes two months after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Saudi Arabia for the China-Gulf summit with leaders in the region.

  • Dubai-based carrier is prepared to restore its daily flight frequency to four when demand accelerates in early 2024, area manager for Hong Kong says
  • Firm is encouraged by Hong Kong’s recent efforts to forge stronger ties with businesses in the Middle East, a boon for future air travels

Standard Chartered’s Benjamin Hung says senior executives of sovereign wealth funds he met last week all agreed assets allocated to China ‘could be increased’.


Deputy Justice Minister Horace Cheung, who is accompanying city leader on week-long tour, says they instead want to discuss arbitration and mediation services that Hong Kong can offer.

Emerging market focus understandable given current geopolitical tensions, but city will still need traditional markets such as US and Europe, observers say.

City leader also visits major industrial zone developed by Chinese company and rubs shoulders with royalty and leader of AI firm with ambitious plans in Asia.

Chief executive also meets head of state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco, promoting city’s pivotal role in helping it to attain listing there.


The collaboration could pave the way for the kingdom’s oil company Saudi Aramco – whose US$29.4 billion IPO in 2019 on the Tadawul remains the world record – to list its shares in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee selected 30 industrial and political heavyweights to accompany him on his first official Middle East tour. The chosen delegates reflect the focus of the city’s push for investment.

But economists say Hong Kong has become less appealing for Middle Eastern firms and caution Islamic law and finance may pose challenge for city’s businesses.