Leaders in the key Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) enthusiastically welcomed the 30-strong Hong Kong delegation led by Chief Executive Mr John Lee and organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), underlining the city’s role to connect them with the world.
Boasting the longest life expectancy in the world, Hong Kong generates strong demand for medical and health services and products. Hong Kong company Enlighten developed a wireless home-care system to ensure elderly people could easily call for assistance. With the help of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council's (HKTDC) Transformation Sandbox (T-box) programme, they successfully expanded into the UK market.
Links between China and the Arabian Peninsula date back centuries – the Aladdin legend reputedly originated in China and marine trade with and through Arabia long predated links with Europe – so it is no surprise that Hong Kong reached out to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates after travel restrictions ended.
In a fast-changing world the Middle East has become an economic hot-spot with many fast-growing economies which are rapidly diversifying beyond their traditional reliance on energy exports.
Hong Kong fully opened its doors on 6 February, admitting travellers without PCR tests or COVID vaccine requirements, reviving the city’s role as a global financial hub and gateway to Mainland China.
Fashion-conscious office workers in Central, Hong Kong, have long turned to IL Sarto Tailor – a local specialty tailor focussing on Italian-style, custom-made suits – for such sartorial needs. Yet, the fallout from the pandemic meant many face-to-face meetings were shelved and working from home became routine. Office workers no longer needed to dress to the nines in order to meet customers, which abruptly halved IL Sarto’s business. The brand adapted immediately: in addition to focusing on wedding suits, and launching casual and women's clothing lines, the tailor also plans to open a store in the United Kingdom to capitalise on demand there for tailor-made clothing, particularly in London.
Food and fashion fulfil people’s fundamental needs – something that’s recognised by Hong Kong-based innovation platform The Mills Fabrica, which is focused on cultivating start-ups engaged in these two fields.
As businesses in the United Kingdom seek new growth areas, Hong Kong’s role as a global financial hub and innovation centre is seen as an ideal platform to help them expand.
Two years ago, Big Data & AI World was the last trade show welcoming visitors to the ExCel exhibition and convention centre prior to the United Kingdom succumbing to its first COVID-19 lockdown. The ensuing period proved to be an exciting one in terms of digital transformation, with more and more businesses going online throughout the course of the outbreak.
The rapid growth of healthcare spending, combined with accommodating financial markets, has made Hong Kong the perfect springboard into Asia for new biotech businesses. Acknowledging this, experts at the recent “Maximising Business Opportunities through Hong Kong on Healthcare Technology and Investment Collaboration” webinar, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), set out to explain how European healthcare start‑ups and other companies can leverage the city’s strategic position, especially its close ties with Mainland China, to benefit from the rapid growth of healthcare spending in the region.
“East meets West” is a term firmly wedded to Hong Kong, in the same way as “Silicon Valley” is linked to San Francisco. But just as the technology business in San Francisco is about much more than physical chips, to view Hong Kong as primarily a link between Mainland China and Europe and North America misses the big picture.
Although in‑person seminars and trade events are still difficult to deliver under many of the prevailing COVID-19 containment measures, the need for manufacturers, end users and supply chain management personnel to interact and coordinate may never have been greater.