Business leaders from around the world descended on Hong Kong this week to map out a shared future in a world of realigning supply chains, a fourth industrial revolution and global desire to deploy sustainable technologies.
Marking 10 years of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the eighth edition of the Belt and Road Summit, organised by the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), brought together about 90 government officials and business leaders from more than 70 countries and regions along the Belt and Road.
An effective platform to showcase Hong Kong’s unique advantages, the Summit enjoyed unwavering support from Mainland China and strong global connections. With Hong Kong as a gateway for foreign investment and a facilitator of global expansion, the event fostered connections with emerging markets and promoted the growth of emerging industries.
The event also gave young leaders and start-ups an opportunity to participate and share BRI opportunities and successes.
Emerging market development
Under the theme Prospering on a Decade of Collaboration, the Summit hosted multiple panel discussions and sessions to highlight emerging markets, especially the Middle East.
This includes policy dialogues and project investment sessions focused on the Middle East, complemented by business plenaries and thematic breakout sessions on a range of topics to reflect on the past 10 years of the BRI and explore future business and investment opportunities across industries.
The Middle East focus followed high-level and industry-specific missions to the region this year, including a delegation led by Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive John Lee to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates .
The Summit’s first session, Policy Dialogue, hosted by Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the Hong Kong SAR, invited heavyweight speakers to share their insights, focused on enhancing cooperation to promote investments, financial services and development solutions between Belt and Road countries and the Middle East.
The speakers were optimistic and forward looking, outlining extensive investments in infrastructure, with an emphasis on digitisation and new industries to generate a sustainable global economy.
The Middle East Forum made its debut on the second day of the Summit, reinforcing the synergy of the Initiative.
Over 280 investment projects matched
The hybrid business matching and project pitching sessions at the Summit remained popular among project owners and participants.
More than 280 investment projects from the Belt and Road region and beyond were presented, covering four main areas – energy, natural resources and public utilities; innovation and technology; urban development as well as transport and logistics infrastructure. The projects focused on areas, such as smart-city development, data centres and e-commerce-related investments.
More than 800 one-to-one business matching meetings were arranged for project owners, investors and professional service providers to pave the way for collaboration agreements. New project-pitching sessions on the Middle East and emerging markets were also well received.
A total of 21 cooperation MoUs were signed, involving government bodies and companies from Hong Kong, Mainland China and ASEAN countries, such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand. They covered renewable construction resources, sustainable energy, R&D, infrastructure, logistics and more. Among them, MoUs were signed with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to strengthen Hong Kong-Middle East ties.
The sixth Belt and Road Global Forum Annual Roundtable took place the day after the Summit during Belt and Road Week to share perspectives on Belt and Road collaborations, exchange the latest information and seize cooperation opportunities.