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Financial Secretary


Visit to Beijing

Last week, I went to Beijing for a four-day visit with the heads of relevant policy bureaux and major financial regulators. During the visit, I called on more than ten central ministries and authorities. I also gave a speech at Peking University exchanged with the teachers, students and alumni there. It was the first time we visited Beijing together since Hong Kong fully resumed normal travel with the Mainland. We were glad to have face-to-face meetings and discussion again with relevant Mainland officials to exchange views on issues of mutual concern and share ideas on future developments.

While in Beijing, I gave a speech at the Guanghua School of Management of Peking University and exchanged with about 400 teachers, students and alumni there.
While in Beijing, I gave a speech at the Guanghua School of Management of Peking University and exchanged with about 400 teachers, students and alumni there.

The packed schedule of the past few days has left me with a deep impression: although the epidemic has hindered exchanges between the two places, various Mainland authorities have a solid grasp of the situation in Hong Kong and care deeply about our developments. They would like to give us more support and step up co-operation with us, and hope that by enhancing existing co-operation mechanisms and exploring new initiatives under their purview, they may help Hong Kong give fuller play to its unique advantages and roles, move forward and contribute further to the national development.

Through days of meetings during the visit, we learnt more about the economic and financial situation as well as the latest developments and thinking behind relevant policies in the Mainland. The meetings have provided important information and points of reference for us and the financial regulators in taking forward our work in the future and in enhancing co-operation between the two places.

At my meetings with various ministries and authorities, I briefed them on the latest economic and financial developments of Hong Kong, as well as our achievements and future priorities in the development of innovation and technology (I&T). The priorities include pursuing continuous innovative and in-depth development of Hong Kong as an international financial centre on all fronts; striving to drive the development of new industrialisation through I&T; and setting the goals of doubling the gross domestic expenditure on R&D as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) and increasing the contribution percentage of manufacturing sector to GDP to 5% within ten years. We also discussed the current condition and future outlook of the development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, as well as the three major directions of Hong Kong in pressing ahead for high-quality development in the new era and in a new stage, including the digital economy, Web3.0 and international green technology and green finance centre. I also talked about the work of Hong Kong in supporting and developing its economy by implementing policies such as “competing for talent” and “competing for enterprises”’ under the new governance concept of a “proactive and capable government” serving an “efficient market”.

While in Beijing, I called on the Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Mr Yang Wanming.
While in Beijing, I met with the Chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission, Mr Yi Huiman, to exchange views on enhancing co-ordination and co-operation in financial aspect.

The epidemic over the past three years has indeed affected the direct communication and exchange among people and has prevented us, to a certain extent, from obtaining first-hand information and experience concerning different markets. That is why we have, after the resumption of normal travel, actively gone global and invited visitors to visit Hong Kong so as to promote the new advantages and opportunities in Hong Kong in the new development stage.

Since the resumption of normal travel, different Mainland provinces and cities have been sending delegations to Hong Kong to promote exchanges and attract investments. Meanwhile, we have actively visited the Mainland and the overseas markets, with the aim of riding on the momentum and opportunities arising from post-epidemic economic recovery to attract investments, facilitate enterprises to set up operations in Hong Kong and draw in talent, so as to strengthen and speed up economic recovery to the benefit of the public and enterprises.

While in Beijing, I met with Vice Chairman Mr Xiao Yuanqi (fourth from right) and Vice Chairwoman Ms Cong Lin (third from right) of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.
While in Beijing, I met with the Vice Minister of Finance Mr Wang Dongwei.

Blessed with the advantages of time, location and the support of the Motherland, Hong Kong is now seeing a golden opportunity for development. As different aspects of economic activities are witnessing a quicker pick-up in the post-epidemic era, the overall atmosphere is positive. Our edge as a regional hub has also appeared again thanks to the gradual recovery of the global transport capacity, with quite a number of business, convention and exhibition, and promotional activities having been attracted to Hong Kong. Since the implementation of the National Security Law and the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”, Hong Kong has restored social security and stability; policy implementation has become more efficient. Taking into account the above factors plus the steady development of our country and the staunch support of the Central Government, many local and overseas friends are holding an optimistic and positive view about the future of Hong Kong.

In several recent visits, I took the opportunity to go to local universities and exchange with the students. I briefed them about the various advantages and attractions of Hong Kong, seeking to give them a better understanding of living and working in Hong Kong. I also encouraged them to seek career development here. The universities that I visited, be they the National University of Singapore and Universiti Malaya in the previous trip, or Peking University in this trip, are all globally renowned. Graduates from these universities will meet the requirements of the Top Talent Pass Scheme, and may come to work in Hong Kong.

While in Beijing, I visited the Research Center on Xi Jinping’s Economic Thought.

The speaking event at the Peking University met with heartening response from students. I spoke to a full-house audience of over 400 students. Those who could not find a seat simply stood throughout the event. We exchanged views in a relaxing yet enthusiastic atmosphere. The students were interested in the opportunities available, and wanted to know more about the details of working in Hong Kong. I talked about work and life in Hong Kong, covering the vibrant cosmopolitan lifestyle in Hong Kong, such as the beauty of our countryside, the rich and diverse art and cultural activities, the more than 200 restaurants recommended by Michelin, countless authentic local delicacies, and the safe and secure environment, etc. From the interactions during the Q&A session, I deeply felt the love of these students for Hong Kong and their strong interest and desire to pursue their careers here.

To promote vibrant economic development and create a strong growth impetus for Hong Kong, we are stepping up efforts in the work on the promotion of Hong Kong through various channels. For tourists, we have the “Hello Hong Kong” campaign and various promotional initiatives. For the locals, we will soon launch the “Happy Hong Kong” campaign; and just disbursed consumption vouchers last week in the hope of strengthening the momentum of economic recovery and creating a more positive and optimistic atmosphere for our community.

As the economy of Hong Kong is picking up, let us seize the opportunity to press ahead with high-quality economic development, so as to create a new paradigm for our society and work together to make it more prosperous, beautiful, and inclusive.

April 23, 2023

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