- Government is focused on achieving self-reliance in science and tech as it aims to make the city a low carbon economy, Chan tells forum
- MTR Corporation boss Jacob Kam, said Hong Kong has the infrastructure to make it an attractive city for the best talent
‘Hong Kong is emerging as a leader in green finance,’ said Chan. Photo: Nora Tam
Hong Kong’s financial secretary, Paul Chan Mo-po, has said the government is focused on achieving self-reliance in science and technology as it aims to make the city a low carbon economy.
“Hong Kong is emerging as a leader in green finance,” said Chan, speaking at an economic forum held by EY on Friday at the Island Shangri-La hotel.
As the city strives to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Chan believes it is “well positioned to be a leader in Asia for green finance and technology.”
Green and sustainable debts arranged or issued in Hong Kong amounted to over US$80.5 billion in 2022. Last month, the city trialled the world’s first government tokenised green bonds worth US$102 million.
In a speech at EY’s Greater China Economics Forum, Chan said fintech was driving change in the way finance is conducted, allowing financial services to be more accessible, and that Hong Kong is helping to drive this change.
In a speech at EY’s Greater China Economics Forum, Chan said fintech was driving change in the way finance is conducted. Photo: Mia Castagnone
The financial secretary spoke about Hong Kong’s role in driving the region’s economy, as the world grapples with rising inflation and geopolitical tensions.
Hong Kong’s economy is making a strong recovery several months after reopening its borders, the International Monetary Fund said on Friday. It praised the resilience of the city’s financial system in the face of a challenging global fiscal environment.
Rising interest rates and a global slowdown led the IMF to lower its forecast for Hong Kong’s economic growth to 3.5 per cent for this year, 0.4 percentage points lower than the prediction it made in October.
Chan said he expected the economy to pick up momentum with the return of tourists from mainland China. The government forecast the economy would grow 5.5 per cent this year.
Speaking during a panel discussion that preceded Chan’s keynote speech, the president of Ascendant Capital Partners, Phillip Zhai, said Hong Kong needs not only to be a “connector” to the mainland but must also maximise its access to funding and talent.
“With Hong Kong’s free economy, we can aggregate payments, aggregate capital, spearhead business initiative and accelerate science and technology development to this part of the world,” said Zhai.
Giving the example of Boston, a city which is a major centre for biotech in the US, Zhai said Hong Kong too has the potential to become a major biotech and innovation hub.
Echoing these sentiments, the CEO of the MTR Corporation, Jacob Kam, said Hong Kong has the infrastructure to make it an attractive city for the best talent.
“Top talent look for compensation and culture,” said Kam.
The appeal of being able to move around the Greater Bay Area is a huge selling point for the city, he said.
The younger generation care more about work-life balance and do not want to be “working into the night”, he added. Integrating artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation into the workforce is a possible solution for helping teams work more efficiently and thus retaining talent, said Kam.
John Witt, group managing director of Hong Kong conglomerate Jardine Matheson, said cultural events are important, adding value to the city.
Art Basel and the infrastructure of West Kowloon, such as the M+ Museum and the Palace Museum have boosted Hong Kong’s global reputation in arts and culture.
“Physical infrastructure is important for our local community and absolutely important in terms of driving recognition of the city,” said Witt. “People coming in need diverse, sophisticated offerings, which comes from having strong cultural and arts infrastructure.”
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