Published: 17:13, May 29, 2024 | Updated: 17:18, May 29, 2024
Chan: HK can be a ‘superconnector’ for US firms eying expansion
By Li Xiaoyun in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po delivers a speech during a business luncheon jointly organized by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco and the Bay Area Council, a business organisation in San Francisco, the US, in San Francisco on May 28, 2024. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said on Wednesday that the city sees opportunities to deepen cooperation with the San Francisco Bay Area of the United States, highlighting their shared strengths.

Speaking at a business luncheon in San Francisco, California, Chan said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region can serve as a “superconnector” to provide a platform for companies in the Bay Area to expand into the Chinese mainland and elsewhere in Asia.

“Hong Kong boasts a broad and deep financing platform, comprehensive financial services, a thriving venture capital ecosystem, a concentration of top international research talent, and a convergence of mainland and international data,” Chan said, while also pointing out the shared strengths in innovation and technology between the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po (first left), Bay Area Council China Initiative Committee Co-Chair Kevin Xu (first right) pose for a photo during the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Director-General of Investment Promotion Alpha Lau (second left) and Chief Operating Officer of the Bay Area Council John Grubb to promote investment promotion exchanges between Hong Kong and the San Francisco Bay Area, on May 28, 2024. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

The finance chief underscored the city’s competitive edge under the “one country, two systems” principle — its adherence to the common law system, low tax regime, linked exchange rate system, as well as the free flow of capital, talent, information and goods.

“The law and order situation in Hong Kong is robust,” Chan said, noting that its business standards are highly aligned with international benchmarks.

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Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po (center) visits the Silicon Valley startup accelerator Plug and Play and interact with representatives of five start-ups from Hong Kong Science Park who are being trained in the Silicon Valley, in San Francisco on May 28, 2024. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

During the panel discussion, executives from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and Hong Kong Cyberport delved into the city’s financial markets, arrangements facilitating the listing of startups, and support for the innovation and technology sector.

Invest HK — the SAR’s investment promotion agency — inked a memorandum of understanding with the Bay Area Council, a business organization in San Francisco, on the same day, with the aim of bolstering cooperation efforts in investment promotion, particularly in green and sustainable development.

Chan visited five Hong Kong startups before the luncheon. The enterprises — operating in cutting-edge fields such as biodegradable materials, new building materials, online marketing, smart robotics, and AI inspection — are now in Silicon Valley for exchanges and training, while also exploring market expansion opportunities.

Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po (third left) meets with one of the founders of the Silicon Valley startup accelerator Plug and Play Rahim Amidi (first right) in San Francisco on May 28, 2024. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

The financial secretary also met with Rahim Amidi, a co-founder of the Silicon Valley startup accelerator Plug and Play. The five startups’ endeavor in Silicon Valley is backed by the incubator’s cooperation with Hong Kong Science Park. Plug and Play is planning to establish a branch in Hong Kong.

On Wednesday (San Francisco time), Chan will lead a Hong Kong delegation to participate in the Bay to Bay Dialogue between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as well as the US-China High-Level Event on Subnational Climate Action, together with delegations from Guangdong province and the Macao SAR.

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The events in the US come on the heels of Chan’s visit to France, where he promoted the business opportunities available in the Greater Bay Area to the European business community, and Hong Kong’s unique role and function as a “superconnector” and “super value-adder” during an economic and trade conference.