Hong Kong celebrates Year of the Rooster in Australia and New Zealand
To celebrate the Year of the Rooster, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Sydney (HKETO) has co-hosted Chinese New Year receptions in major cities of Australia and New Zealand this month with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Invest Hong Kong, the Hong Kong-Australia Business Association and the Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association.
The Sydney reception was held yesterday (February 13, Sydney time) and was attended by more than 400 guests comprising business, community and political leaders. Speaking at the reception, the Director of the HKETO, Mr Arthur Au, said Hong Kong and Australia continue to enjoy a strong bilateral economic relationship.
"Hong Kong is Australia's sixth largest export market for goods, sixth largest services trading partner and sixth largest investor," Mr Au said.
He said he hoped that negotiations on the Comprehensive Double Taxation Agreement and Free Trade Agreement between Hong Kong and Australia would commence soon in order to enable companies on both sides to do more business and to make more investments.
Mr Au said that, amid the challenging global economy in 2016, Hong Kong continued to serve as the "super-connector" between Mainland China and the rest of the world by virtue of its dual advantages of "one country" and "two systems".
"Our strong traditions in the rule of law and an independent judiciary, free trade and an open economy are some of the major reasons for overseas and Chinese companies to set up their offices in Hong Kong," he noted.
Mr Au also highlighted Hong Kong’s developments in financial services and innovation and technology in the past year, which would provide good opportunities for companies and talents in Australia.
On financial services, the Hong Kong stock market finished first in initial public offerings in 2016. Following the launch of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, the Mainland-Hong Kong Mutual Recognition of Funds Arrangement and the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, the cumulative net fund flow from Mainland Chinese investors to Hong Kong, and from Hong Kong and overseas investors to Mainland China, has already reached more than AUD90 billion.
"With its capital, connections, products and expertise, Hong Kong will continue to serve as the financial services hub for the Belt and Road Initiative," Mr Au noted.
He pointed out that Hong Kong's innovation and technology ecosystem has been growing fast with nearly 2 000 start-ups, a growth of 25 per cent compared with the figure for 2015.
"A number of leading research and development institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have set up their presence in Hong Kong," he said.
Mr Au added that renowned venture capital funds in Mainland China and overseas such as Alibaba Group have set up dedicated funds and investment platforms in Hong Kong.
"The Hong Kong Government will launch by the middle of this year the Innovation and Technology Venture Fund to invest, with private venture capital funds, in promising local start-ups," he said.
2017 is a special year for Hong Kong. It marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
"In Australia, the HKETO will organise a series of celebration activities including cultural performances, business forums and a Hong Kong carnival. We will bring our children, youths, and arts performing groups from Hong Kong to celebrate the 20th anniversary with people in Australia," Mr Au said.
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