7 Oct 2010
Prince Andrew Honoured Guest at HKTDC London Dinner
Hong Kong Hailed as Top Asia Hub for UK Business
Attending the 2010 Hong Kong Dinner in London are (left to right) Sir David Tang; HRH Prince Andrew The Duke of York; HKTDC Chairman Jack So; and Financial Secretary John Tsang
5 October 2010 – A growing flow of trade and investment between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom was the focus of discussions at the annual Hong Kong Dinner held in London on Tuesday (5 October).
Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Chairman Jack So hosted the dinner, where the guest of honour was His Royal Highness Prince Andrew the Duke of York.
Prince Andrew, the UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, was the first member of the British royal family to attend the annual dinner in the 27 years since it was first held in London.
Britain’s Asia Business Hub
In his keynote address, Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary John Tsang described the positive economic outlook in Hong Kong and the strong bilateral ties which it has with the UK.
That view was reflected by UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Dr Vince Cable, who told guests that Hong Kong has become Britain’s most important business hub in Asia, with a huge and growing flow of business in both directions.
“In part, this is the result of the common ground we occupy – common law, a similar approach to regulation, a mutual attachment to the principles of free and open trade, strong personal and corporate connections too.
“But dynamic business relationships cannot rely on shared history alone. In fact, many new British companies are looking to do business in Asia – and especially in China, for which Hong Kong offers the most effective and user-friendly operating base,” Dr Cable said.
“Equally, Hong Kong, Chinese and Asian companies looking to Europe find the UK to be their most effective business base,” Dr Cable added, pointing out that more than 40 UK companies set up in Hong Kong last year, and that there are now more than 300 UK companies with Asia Pacific headquarters in the city.
Bilateral Trade Flow
He quoted recent UN figures showing that Hong Kong is home to more than £30bn of UK investment – around half of all British investment in Asia. Dr Cable also said that around 80 per cent of all Hong Kong investment in Europe goes to the UK and that more than 200 Hong Kong companies operate in Britain, with one of the largest overseas investor being Hong Kong company Cheung Kong Holdings.
Bilateral trade in goods and services has reached more than £13.4bn per annum, according to Dr Cable, who also remarked that in 2009 Hong Kong was the UK’s second largest export market for goods in Asia, after the Chinese mainland.
The dinner also welcomed some 350 business leaders and senior government officials from the UK and Hong Kong. Among the guests were Peter Budd, Chairman, Ove Arup & Partners Ltd & Vice Chairman, China-Britain Business Council; Joseph Chow, Managing Director, The Bank of East Asia, London; Sir Terence Conran, Chairman, Conran Holdings Ltd; Baroness Dunn, DBE, Chairman, Hong Kong Association; Dr Eddy Fong, Chairman, Securities and Futures Commission, Hong Kong; Michael Geoghegan, CBE GCEO, Chief Executive, HSBC Holdings Plc and the Rt Hon Lord Heseltine, CH PC, Chairman, Haymarket Media Group.
Also attending the event were James Hughes-Hallett, Chairman, John Swire & Sons Ltd; Benjamin Hung, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited; Sir Henry N L Keswick, Chairman, Matheson & Co Ltd; Frank Lai, Chief Financial Officer, China Resources Enterprise, Limited; Sir Nicholas Macpherson, Permanent Secretary, HM Treasury; Mr Ou Yan, Managing Director, China Telecom (Europe) Ltd; Lord Paul of Marylebone, Chairman, Caparo Group Plc; Christian Salbaing, Deputy Chairman, Hutchison Whampoa (Europe) Ltd; Lord Sassoon, Commercial Secretary, HM Treasury, UK Government; Andrew Seaton, British Consul-General, Hong Kong; Sir David Tang, KBE, Founder, Shanghai Tang and the China Club; and Joseph Wan, Group Chief Executive, Harvey Nichols & Co Ltd.
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About the HKTDC
A statutory body established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 global offices, including 11 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and throughout Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and on the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com