Asia & Africa Committee
Deepening Connections with Kazakhstan
On 20 April, Kuanysh Amantai, General Representative of Kazakh Invest in South-East Asia and China, along with Dauren Zhanseitov, Representative of Kazakh Invest in China and Almas Seitakynov, Consul General of the Republic of Kazakhstan, met with Jonathan Lamport, Chairman of the Asia & Africa Committee and members.
Amantai presented Kazakh Invest’s work and discussed potential areas of investment in Kazakhstan. The country is the largest economy in Central Asia and the top recipient of FDI in the region. Over the last decade, the government has invested US$30 billion in the transport industry, with the goal of developing it into a major transport hub between Asia and Europe. Additionally, the country is blessed with abundant reserves of natural resources, including lead, manganese, iron and copper that have not yet exploited.
Investors can enter the country via the Astana International Financial Centre, as well as the 14 special economic zones and 36 industrial zones, which offer numerous benefits including tax breaks, monetary incentives, state support, and hassle-free visa applications.
Strengthening Ties with Saudi Arabia
Asia & Africa Committee Chairman Jonathan Lamport had a constructive meeting with the Deputy Consul General of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Saud H. Alotaibi and Economic Adviser Jamal Chafra on 3 April, and discussed ways to expand business relations between Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and the Mainland.
Alotaibi said with the relaxation of ownership limits for foreign investors, there were immense investment opportunities in the country for the taking, particularly in sectors such as tourism, culture and entertainment, life sciences, I&T, green energy and water. The Kingdom was actively investing in different projects globally, so on inward investment into Hong Kong and the Mainland, Chafra said Hong Kong as the gateway to the GBA take advantage of its unique position and put more resources into raising the visibility of and promoting the advantages of the GBA. He added that developing the Islamic finance market should also be a priority for Hong Kong. The global Islamic funds market has grown by more than 300% over the last decade to nearly US$200 billion in assets under management.
Both sides agreed to organize cultural and knowledge-sharing events to help connect businesses and foster better understanding between the cultures.
Stronger ties with Kazakhstan
Almas Seitakynov, Consul General of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Hong Kong and Macao, paid a courtesy visit to Jonathan Lamport, Chairman of the Asia & Africa Committee, and Vice Chairmen Edmond Yue and Dewan Saiful Alam on 12 April. Both sides shared their views on topics related to the economic, cultural and political ties between Kazakhstan, Hong Kong and the Mainland, and agreed to foster closer cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, education and tourism.
With flights between Kazakhstan and Hong Kong due to resume in September, Seitakynov said he was looking forward to more exchanges between the two economies, which have enjoyed close ties for a long time. He added that Hong Kong is home to a community of over 400 Kazakhs, including students, professionals and businesspeople, and both places offer various opportunities in sectors like agriculture and food products, green energy, finance and tourism.
Lamport expressed his optimism about cooperation and agreed to explore further collaboration by co-organizing events.
HKGCC X JETRO Invest Japan Webinar
The Chamber co-organized an “Invest Japan Webinar” on 29 March with the Osaka, Nara and Wakayama governments and JETRO Hong Kong to update members on the latest economic developments in Kansai post Covid-19, and to introduce businesses opportunities in each prefecture. Yasuyuki Murahashi, Director General of JETRO Osaka, gave the keynote speech. The panel discussion featured senior government representatives from Osaka, Nara and Wakayama as well as representatives from Hong Kong companies: Oscar Chow, Non-Executive Director of Chevalier International Holdings Ltd, and Kiah Meng Lim, Director of SIS Hospitality Holdings Limited.
Connecting Italian and Hong Kong F&B Firms
The Europe Committee co-organized an online seminar on 18 April with Italian partner, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), to update members on the opportunities and trends in the Italian and Hong Kong food and beverage markets post-pandemic. Members were also given the chance to connect with their Italian counterparts in private business matching sessions. Carmelo Ficarra, Consul General of Italy in Hong Kong and Macao, and Europe Committee Chairman David De Rosa expressed hope that the Italian and Hong Kong companies could reconnect to enhance communication and explore business opportunities between the regions.
Encouraging Hong Kong Companies to Set Up in Poland
A delegation of Polish finance officials visited the Chamber on 19 April. Stanislaw Kluza, CEO, BOŚ Bank and former Ministry of Finance of Poland, Adam Z. Młodkowski, Chief Financial Officer, and his colleague Michal Zaleski, Director of Business Development, both from the Warsaw Stock Exchange (GPW), were welcomed by Harrison Ho, Chairman of the Chamber’s Financial & Treasury Services Committee, Davide De Rosa, Chairman of the Europe Committee, together with Chamber CEO George Leung and members. They discussed ideas for encouraging more Hong Kong companies to set up in Poland, as well as existing challenges hampering companies from expanding into the country.