The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) links economies, companies and organisations across the world in a decade-old programme to innovatively fast-track development for all.
Hong Kong serves as the buckle for the belt and key junction for the road, directing capital, talent and knowledge between the Belt and Road regions, especially between Mainland China and the rest of the world.
More than a century ago, Rudyard Kipling wrote about the “great game” tussle between superpowers over Central Asia and the region is no less important now than it was then.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has notched up many successes related to the BRI, linking companies, organisations and people. Here are just a few of them.
Fringe of Siberia
Testifying to this, the HKTDC linked up a Hong Kong medical imaging firm Koln 3D Technology (Medical) Limited with the Kazakh Institute of Oncology and Radiology (KazIOR), which is introducing state-of-the-art 3D medical printing technologies to Kazakhstan to improve treatment.
In another technology transfer deal, Dr Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, visited Hong Kong’s entrepreneurship incubator Cyberport during the HKTDC’s Belt and Road Summit 2018 and decided to adopt the Cyberport model in Thailand.
The Ministry of Industry set up InnoSpace Thailand. Cyberport signed an MoU with InnoSpace the next year to become their Knowledge Partner.
A key investor in InnoSpace is Bangkok Bank, the largest corporate lender in the country and incorporated in key global destinations, including ASEAN region, Hong Kong, and Mainland China. The bank has signed an MoU on the Belt and Road Strategic Partnership Agreement with the HKTDC.
Under this agreement, the bank and the HKTDC become strategic partners to increase trade and investment under the BRI in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand (CLMVT). Armed with extensive international experience and relationship, Bangkok Bank became the knowledge centre of CLMVT Region.
Also in Thailand, the HKTDC helped the Amata infrastructure group cooperate with construction firms from Hong Kong and Mainland China to build a smart city and industrial park at Chonburi, part of Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor.
Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, the HKTDC brought Hong Kong’s Smart City Consortium and Indonesia’s Jababeka Groups subsidiary PT Graha Buana Cikarang to sign an MoU at the Belt and Road Summit 2020. Jababeka focuses on industrial park and township development and operation. Their flagship project in Cikarang, Greater Jakarta is a mature industrial park-city. The MoU opens the door for Hong Kong smart city technologies to enter the Indonesia market.
Indonesia is now embarking on a giant smart-city project, moving its capital from Jakarta to Nusantara on Borneo Island. The HKTDC earlier this year organised a visit to Indonesia, introducing Hong Kong infrastructure and smart-city firms to the opportunities the project presents.
The Indonesian resort island of Bali inspired two Hong Kong entrepreneurs originally hailing from Argentina and Italy to set up travel booking platform Trip Guru, which now operates across 40 destinations. The founders said the BRI provided exciting opportunities in Asia and beyond, with Hong Kong’s business platform being a launchpad for the rebounding travel sector.
The Belt and Road has been digital from the outset and German technology giant Siemens is facilitating digital aspects, as it upgraded infrastructure projects with new digital solutions. Through its consulting arm Siemens Advanta at Hong Kong’s Science Park, the company established a smart city digital hub developing answers for smart buildings and energy saving solutions. “If you can do it in Hong Kong, you can do it in most places,” Siemens President Eric Chong said.
The HKTDC and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will host the eighth Belt and Road Summit at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on 13 and 14 September.
The Belt and Road Portal provides year-round information on the project. The portal provides information on potential projects, service providers along the Belt and Road, expert advice on navigating the BRI and a free one-on-one advisory service. The portal also features articles and videos on success stories across the BRI.