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New opportunities for UK firms as Hong Kong develops as hi-tech hub

Pictured at the Hong Kong Annual London Dinner, 31 October 2006, left to right, The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge, MP, Minister of State for Industry and the Regions; The Hon Rafael Hui, Chief Secretary of Administration, Hong Kong SAR Government; Mr Peter Woo, Chairman, Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

British companies should grasp the next wave of opportunities as Hong Kong evolves new ways to add value to business between China and the rest of the world, and as the Pearl River Delta transforms into a hi-tech 'Silicon Delta', Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) Chairman Peter Woo said yesterday in London.

Mr Woo told guests at the annual Hong Kong Dinner in London (31 October) that with China's increasing demand for technology, Hong Kong is gearing up to become the leading technology marketplace in Asia.

"This will supplement well Hong Kong's other two economic engines in merchandise trade and services trade to become the 'third engine' to power our future economic growth.

"For British companies, TDC is here to help you use the Hong Kong platform to advance your business interests and participate in the development of this exciting story."

Mr Woo identified China's accelerating economic rise and opening as a strategic factor driving Hong Kong's evolution. On top of the world 'going in' to China through Hong Kong, China is increasingly 'going out' to the world, using the Hong Kong platform.

Under China's 11th Five-year programme, priority has been assigned to the development of proprietary technology as well as developing designated technology from overseas. Hong Kong is already a competitive technology marketplace, its companies active in the trading and transfer of technology between overseas and mainland partners, he said.

In Shenzhen, Hong Kong's neighbouring city in the Chinese mainland, the hi-tech sector already accounts for over half of industrial output. TDC recently signed a co-operation agreement with the Shenzhen Municipal Government to attract more tech and creative companies to the region for production, R&D and support services.

"Over the next 25 years, a dynamic Hong Kong-Shenzhen alliance on innovation and technology could prompt the emergence of what I personally envisage as a 'Silicon Delta', which would be the hub for all technology-related activities in our region on a world scale."

Mr Woo told guests at the dinner that as TDC celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and four decades after it opened its first overseas office in London, it is bringing more UK businesses into the network of the Hong Kong business community.

"More and more UK companies are coming to trade fairs in Hong Kong, either as exhibitors or buyers. Some of these UK companies have decided to set up offices in Hong Kong too. There are more than 450 UK companies in Hong Kong, a 26 per cent increase since 2001."

Hong Kong's Chief Secretary for Administration Raphael Hui was guest of honour at the event that was hosted by Mr Woo and attended by 300 business leaders and senior government officials from the UK and Hong Kong (details of the Chief Secretary's speech available from ISD. Note on guests see note 1).

Earlier in the day business ties had been further strengthened with a plenary meeting of the Hong Kong/UK Business Partnership in London. Established two years ago, this brings UK and Hong Kong businesses together on a business-to-business, sector-to-sector and result-driven approach to identify areas ripe for development and collaboration, particularly in the creative industries and information and communication technology (ICT). The meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Allan Wong, Chairman of Vtech Holdings Ltd and of Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Co. Ltd; and Dr Gerard Lyons, Chief Economist of Standard Chartered Bank, representing Mr E Mervyn Davies, the bank's Group Chief Executive.

The dinner and the Partnership plenary are part of a week-long programme of events organised by the TDC in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. On Monday 30 October a seminar entitled Hong Kong: Your Partner for a New Era of Opportunity in China was held in Glasgow. Further seminars will be held in Cambridge (1 November) and Dublin (2 November).



Note 1: Hong Kong Dinner in London, 31 October

Host: Mr Peter Woo, GBS, JP, Chairman, Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Guests included:

Mr Henry Azima, Chief Technology Officer, NXT plc
Mr Stephen Bradley, British Consul-General, Hong Kong
Mr Gianluca Brozezetti, Chief Executive, Aspreys Holdings Ltd
The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge, MBE, MP, Minister of State for Industry and the Regions, Department of Trade & Industry
The Hon Rafael S Y Hui, GBS, JP, Chief Secretary of Administration, Hong Kong SAR Government
Mrs Teresa Hui
Dr Paul Johnson, Chief Executive, Cyan Technology Ltd
Mr Henry N L Keswick, Chairman, Matheson & Co Ltd
The Lord Levene of Portsoken, KBE, Chairman, Lloyd's of London
Mr Nicholas Mather, Chief Executive, Hamleys plc
Mr Michael Miles, OBE, Chairman, Schroders plc
Lord Paul of Marylebone, Chairman, Caparo Group plc
Sir Adrian Swire, DL, Chairman, John Swire & Sons Ltd
Lord Wilson of Tillyorn, KT, GCMG, Hon President, Hong Kong Association
Mrs Bessie Woo
His Excellency Ambassador Zha Peixin, Ambassador, Embassy of the People's Republic of China
Madame Zhang Xiao Kang, Minister Counsellor, Embassy of the People's Republic of China

For press enquiries, please contact Katherine Chan of TDC's Corporate Communication Department at 2584 4537.

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