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Tale of Two Cities Opens International Business Convention

Dr Kenichi Ohmae, renowned management expert, sees Hong Kong's future in services and entertainment
TDC Executive Director Fred Lam says there has never been a better time for Hong Kong SMEs to contemplate change
Left to right: Moderator Zoher Abdoolcarim, Dr Kenichi Ohmae, Professor Michael Enright and KC Kwok take part in a panel discussion on competing in the new Asian economy

December 13, 2007 - Hong Kong and Macau should form a "tale of two cities," said world-renowned management strategist Dr Kenichi Ohmae.

Dr Ohmae was speaking at the International Business Convention (IBC), held today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, as part of World SME Expo. In his keynote address, "The Next Global Stage: Challenges and Opportunities of Globalisation in Asia," he discussed the pivotal role China plays in East Asia and Hong Kong's future role in the region.

Dr Ohmae said that the Chinese government has done a "miracle" opening up the casino industry in Macau. "With the tale of two cities, people will come to Hong Kong for conventions and exhibitions, for the hotels and shopping malls, and then go to Macau for the entertainment." He suggested packaging Macau and Hong Kong as a combination that would be "happy for the family, the spouse and the CEO."

Hong Kong, said Dr Ohmae, could also be the services capital of East Asia, playing a pivotal role in professional services, entertainment and shopping.

Growth opportunities are everywhere, particularly in the populous east, according to Dr Ohmae. "Money is in abundant supply in the borderless world, with its immense opportunities for generating wealth. The critical issue is really not money but ideas and leadership," he said. "You can shape the future at will, if you have the courage to climb onto the global stage."

China, he added, is the centre for trade in East Asia. "East Asia is a de facto community without a script, and China is the catalyst for this cross-border economy."

Dr Ohmae also took part in a lively panel discussion with Michael Enright, Sun Hung Kai Professor of Business Administration, University of Hong Kong, and KC Kwok, a Hong Kong Government economist. The panel was moderated by Zoher Abdoolcarim, senior editor at Time Asia.

The convention was opened by Fred Lam, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), organiser of the day-long event. Mr Lam said that the Hong Kong economy was humming, with real GDP of 6.8 per cent last year and a further 6.1 per cent increase in the first three quarters of 2007. He added, however, that Hong Kong companies would need to respond to the increasing demands of a globalised world.

"Hong Kong SMEs, many of them family owned and operated, have always excelled at taking orders and turning them around. We can produce just about anything, smartly and efficiently, but what works well now may sooner or later be yesterday's solution."

Mr Lam said SMEs must hone their marketing skills and move up the value chain in order to survive.

Other participants at today's convention included Ed Chan, President and CEO, Wal-Mart China, who shared his experience in "Building Wal-Mart in China," and Margaret Leung, HSBC General Manager and Global Co-Head Commercial Banking. Ms Leung spoke about "the Booming Asian Economy: Assessing the Strategic Opportunities."

The day-long IBC is part of the 7th edition of World SME Expo, which opened yesterday (December 12) and continues through December 14. About 330 exhibitors from more than 40 countries and regions are taking part in the expo, one of the world's largest events for SMEs. In all, about 40,000 participants are expected at SME Expo and a variety of concurrent events, including Inno Design Tech Expo (IDT Expo) and Business of Design Week.

IDT Expo, an international design and technology fair, features about 300 exhibitors from more than 20 countries and regions. An IDT Expo highlight this year is its focus on Italy, including Italian Design Day, and Italian product pavilions showcasing everything from designer chairs to a couple of the world's most coveted automobiles.

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Media Enquiries
Please contact the TDC's Corporate Communication Department:

Victor George Paddy Tel: (852) 2584 4517 Email: victor.paddy@tdc.org.hk

About the TDC
Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 offices worldwide, including 11 in the Chinese mainland, the TDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and Asia. The TDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, visit www.tdctrade.com

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