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Financial Secretary


Sharing the Fun and Forging Ahead

Victoria Harbour was particularly bustling last night. Singers and bands from Asia and Hong Kong put on spectacular shows for the audience on a grand water stage set up off the Wan Chai waterfront, with Victoria Harbour as the backdrop. While revelling in pop music, fellow citizens enjoyed various entertainments along the promenade, ranging from East-meets-West street performances to X-Games demonstrations. Hordes of people immersed in an atmosphere that was full of energy, happiness and excitement. Flickering neon light, splendid fireworks, the familiar scenic harbour, novel cultural experiences, as well as the company of friends – all these created some unforgettable and happy memories of the night.

This is the Harbour Chill Carnival, one of the highlights of the “Happy Hong Kong” campaign. For five weekends in a row starting this weekend, the Carnival will bring a whole new experience of cultural performances by featuring shows on a water stage as well as ashore at the Wan Chai waterfront. My gratitude goes to various government bureaux/departments as well as the Hong Kong Tourism Board for their dedicated efforts in organising the event. I invite everyone to come to join the fun-filled Carnival at the Wan Chai waterfront, especially next Sunday (16 July), which is the disbursement date of the second instalment of consumption vouchers. I hope that you will come with your relatives and friends after dining together on that day, and have a great time together at the Carnival.

Attending the opening ceremony of the Harbour Chill Carnival yesterday. The Carnival will bring a whole new experience of cultural performances at the Wan Chai waterfront for five consecutive weekends.

Since the announcement of the Budget early this year, we have been pressing ahead with efforts to implement various initiatives, from the Consumption Voucher Scheme to the “Happy Hong Kong” campaign. Our aim is to boost local consumption while bringing more pleasant experiences to residents and reinforcing the positive market expectations for the future. Indeed, we can create more room for improving people’s quality of life and alleviating social and livelihood issues only if our economy continues to improve with a stronger momentum. Striving for economic growth and better livelihood is the common aspiration of our society, as well as the core mission of the HKSAR Government.

Yesterday, I just finished my three-day visit to Shanghai, which was my first visit to the city in three years since the society has resumed normalcy after the epidemic. During the trip, in addition to attending the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) 2023 and the Asian Logistics, Maritime and Aviation Conference Satellite Conference – a New Chapter of Hong Kong-Shanghai Collaboration, I met with the representatives of various organisations, innovation and technology (I&T) enterprises and the business sector to discuss in depth how to make fuller and better use of the strengths of Hong Kong as an international financial centre and the services provided here to spur their growth. We also explored how to strengthen collaboration in order to seize together the new development opportunities that are coming.

I visited an enterprise specialising in artificial intelligence chips and cloud computing during my visit to Shanghai.
Visiting the Shanghai Research Center of Huawei.

This visit proves that Hong Kong is on the right track in actively promoting I&T development. However, as technology is rapidly developing and constantly evolving, competition intensifies day by day. We must grasp the opportunities of the times, always stay ahead of changes and expedite our work.

In respect of attracting enterprises and investment, we received quite a lot of positive feedbacks during the visit. Through visiting enterprises or their research centres, and attending luncheons and other special exchange sessions, we met and liaised with many emerging start-ups and leading technology enterprises. All of them acknowledged Hong Kong’s advantages under “One Country, Two Systems” and its international status. They also showed great interest in making use of Hong Kong as a base to tap into the international market. I believe that there will be some good news shortly on attracting strategic enterprises to Hong Kong.

Meeting with the President of the New Development Bank and former President of Brazil, Ms Dilma Rousseff.

Over the past few days, I also visited various organisations, including the New Development Bank, the China Foreign Exchange Trade System and the Shanghai Data Exchange, and actively discussed with them how to facilitate their development by better leveraging our strengths as an international financial centre, as well as promoting co-operation in the areas of finance and data.

It is also worth mentioning that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong/Shanghai Co-operation Conference. The two cities, each playing a crucial role in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Yangtze River Delta Group of Cities, can enhance co-operation in numerous areas such as finance, trade and commerce, logistics and shipping, green transformation, digital economy, and culture and tourism, with a view to jointly making greater contributions to our country’s high-quality development.

Giving a keynote speech at the Plenary Session – Industry Development of the WAIC 2023 during my visit to Shanghai.
Visiting Fudan University for an exchange of views with the students during my visit to Shanghai.

In this trip, I also met with Hong Kong people living in Shanghai in a dinner to understand their lives and work; and paid a visit to Fudan University to exchange views with the teachers, students and alumni. During the speech and the exchange session at Fudan University, I introduced Hong Kong’s latest development and its future opportunities brought by the synergy of the finance-I&T dual engine. From the lively interactions and discussions, it was obvious that the participants had keen interest in the opportunities and future of Hong Kong. While Hong Kong and Shanghai share many things in common, each has its own distinct strengths, characteristics and development achievements. Collaboration between the two cities will definitely be mutually beneficial and bring greater strength.

July 9, 2023

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