Being a global financial, logistics and trading hub, Hong Kong will continue to play the important role of a "super-connector" between Slovenia, Mainland China and the markets of the Belt and Road.
During his official visit to Slovenia, Mr Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office and their Slovenian partners, The Slovenia Times and JT Business Development, organized the Hong Kong – Slovenia: Opportunities in Hong Kong for Slovenian Business seminar and luncheon. The event was held at the Grand Hotel Union on 3 April and was attended by 120 managers and entrepreneurs.
The event was focused on joint economic and investment opportunities between the two economies, closely connected to the initiative of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road, better known as the Belt and Road Initiative, spearheaded by President Xi of China in 2013. The main message of the event was that: “The Belt and Road is built on collaboration – on deepening the bonds between nations, economies and cultures. Hong Kong offers may advantages such as low taxes, a world class business environment, a reassuring legal system, and the local knowledge to tap the massive Asian markets.”
The first panel of the seminar was devoted to the business opportunities in Hong Kong. The opening address was given by the former President of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Türk, who stressed the importance of mutual cooperation. "The most important element of future leadership is connectivity."
Dr Türk’s address was followed by an address by Mr William Chui, Regional Director, Europe, Hong Kong Trade Development Council, who presented interesting comparisons between Slovenia and Hong Kong. "Slovenia has an area of 20,273 km2, a population of two million, GDP of US $44bn, GDP per capita of US $21,308 and trade with Hong Kong of US $65m. On the other side, Hong Kong has an area of only 1,104 km2 with a population of 7.3 million, but boasts GDP of US $319bn, GDP per capita of US $43,400 and total trade of US $1,146 bn.”
Dr Wing Hin Chung, Head of Investment Promotion, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Berlin, stressed that Hong Kong has a well-established system that connects it to the international community in terms of the legal system, language, trade practices as well as a lifestyle which international traders are familiar with. “Hong Kong is an international gateway to Mainland China, offering unique physical and intangible connectivity to the Mainland with privileged trade and social access.” He also mentioned the great logistics: “Half the world's population is just five hours away.” Mr Jure Tomc, CEO and owner, JT Business Development Ltd, claimed that there are many opportunities for Slovenian businesses in Hong Kong, especially in FinTech, wine, clean technology, energy conservation, education and food safety. Agriculture Ministry State Secretary Mr Marjan Podgoršek, stressed that political visits open paths for new business opportunities and announced that Slovenia and Hong Kong have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in wine-related trade. “With the MoU, Slovenia can make the best use of Hong Kong's advantages as a duty-free port, a regional logistics and business hub, and the world's largest wine auction centre.”
The keynote speaker of the event, Mr Gregory So, gave an inspiring speech, presenting the main opportunities that Hong Kong can offer Slovenian businesses and a perspective on how Hong Kong could help Slovenia capitalize on the wealth of opportunities emerging from the Belt and Road Initiative.
"Aside from the rich culture, heritage and beauty of this city and this great country, the desire to succeed and your entrepreneurial spirit remind me very much of Hong Kong.”
He stressed that, like the wine trade, many Slovenian businesses can make use of the unique advantages of Hong Kong to extend their reach to the Far East. “The unique status that Hong Kong enjoys under the "one country, two systems" principle, and our very strong links with Mainland China, continue to make Hong Kong the preferred location for doing business in Asia. Add our fundamental strengths, including the rule of law, free flow of capital and information, a business-friendly environment, a diverse and international talent pool, and a low and simple tax regime.”
“Through the Belt and Road Initiative we expect to see soaring investment in infrastructure, deepening financial integration, expanding trade and the building of people-to-people bonds on a global scale. I believe it will emerge as a driving force of the world economy in this 21st century.”
Mr So concluded his address by saying: “Hong Kong has what you need in a strategic partner for the 21st century. We welcome Slovenian investment and talent.”
Video montage of the Opportunities in Hong Kong for the Slovenian business event