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Financial Secretary


Promoting Mega Event Economy

Last week, despite a sudden drop in temperature in Hong Kong, several major events held consecutively here had made the city lively and bustling. First, we had the Hong Kong Marathon on Sunday, which attracted not only local runners but also many athletes from overseas. The number of participants returned to pre-pandemic levels, and Hong Kong once again became an important destination for international professional runners. Participants did their best to compete, while our residents showed great enthusiasm, cheering each other on. The atmosphere was buzzing with joy and excitement.

I joined the Leaders Cup of the Hong Kong Marathon 2024 last week. Participants cheered each other on, creating an atmosphere buzzing with joy and excitement.

Another mega event last week was the annual Asian Financial Forum. The Forum attracted over 3,000 participants, including Mainland officials; investors from Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia; senior government officials from such countries, Central Asia and other places along the Belt and Road; as well as representatives of international organisations. Together, we engaged in closer, more in-depth and more multidimensional discussions and cooperation. Over 700 one-on-one investment project matching sessions were arranged at the Forum. It also facilitated the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and an agreement on tax and financial cooperation, which deepened Hong Kong's trade and economic cooperation with the Middle East and Central Europe respectively. Officials from the Hong Kong SAR government held bilateral meetings with guests from overseas, deepened our relationships with them, and paved the way for broader cooperation, striving to create more business opportunities for Hong Kong.

These two events were just part of a series of mega events planned for Hong Kong. The HKSAR Government will strengthen the coordination of major events and holistically promote the holding of a wide range of events with different themes and forms in the city. It is our goal to bring a greater variety of events and new experiences to our visitors and residents.

In the next two months, for example, there will be a wave of events related to innovation and technology and finance, as well as in the convention and exhibition industry. In February, there will be the first Hong Kong Green Week, featuring the Hong Kong GreenTech Summit 2024 and thematic speeches and roundtable meetings on green finance. The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show will also take place in the same month. In March, we will have the Wealth for Good in Hong Kong Summit targeting global family offices and asset owners, as well as the inaugural Global Investors’ Symposium organised by the Milken Institute. Also in March will be Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Central, Art@Harbour, and the first-ever ComplexCon in Asia, all being attractions for global enthusiasts of popular culture.

Speaking at the keynote luncheon at the Asian Financial Forum last week
Meeting with the Minister of National Financial Regulatory Administration, Mr. Li Yunze, who came to Hong Kong to participate during the Asian Financial Forum

Just in the first half of this year, there will be over 80 major events, covering culture and arts, sports, economy and finance, trade exhibitions, and more. These large-scale international activities or conferences fully reflect Hong Kong's unique strengths and advantages as a gateway to the Mainland. Enjoy our country’s strong support while being closely connected to the rest of the world, Hong Kong plays the role of a “superconnector”. Through a series of international conferences with different themes and features, we will further strengthen the exchange and interaction between local industries and their Mainland and international partners. By actively inviting guests to come, participants can personally experience Hong Kong's unique charm and cultural atmosphere. All these activities will enlarge Hong Kong's circle of friends.

In addition to international events, we will also organise local festivals and celebrations that will allow residents and visitors to experience and share the festive atmosphere of Hong Kong. In two weeks’ time, we will celebrate the Chinese New Year with a variety of programmes that you can plan ahead and join with your friends and family:
From 4-10 February, 15 large-scale Lunar New Year Fairs will be held across the territory, where members of the public can experience the festive atmosphere and purchase New Year supplies.
On 10 February (the first day of the Chinese New Year), a spectacular International Chinese New Year parade featuring fantastically decorated floats and performances by different art groups will be held in the evening.
On 11 February (the second day of the Chinese New Year), a stunning fireworks display will light up the sky over Victoria Harbour.
On 12 February (the third day of the Chinese New Year), the Chinese New Year Raceday will bring a day of horse racing action.
On 13 February (the fourth day of the Chinese New Year), the Chinese New Year Cup (a football event) will be held.

After the four-day long weekend of the Chinese New Year holiday, the first-ever "Chubby Hearts Hong Kong" exhibition in Asia will come on Valentine’s Day on 14 February, featuring a red giant heart-shaped balloon with a diameter of about 12 metres floating above the Statue Square in Central. The exhibition will last for ten days and will likely be a romantic photo spot for Valentine's Day and the Lantern Festival.

For these activities, whether they are innovation and technology events, financial conferences, festive celebrations, or sports events, it is most important to gather the support of the community and create an atmosphere of full participation. The active collaboration and participation of different industries such as the tourism sector, hotels, shopping malls, retail, and dining will help create a vibrant atmosphere and even stimulate spending, thus creating more business opportunities.

We will also strengthen internal coordination and establish effective mechanisms to ensure that the events would be smoothly and successfully held. The Deputy Financial Secretary is leading an inter-departmental coordination group, with representatives from relevant policy bureaux, departments, and statutory bodies as members, set up to ensure that the events will receive adequate support and get value-added. We will also suitably remove barriers and restrictions in different areas with a view to maximising the economic and social benefits of the events.

In this process, it is crucial to continuously improve the quality of products and services, providing a great "event experience" for both tourists and residents. To this end, we are making great strides together with the trades and industries, from enhancing capacities in manpower and facilities to better rolling out publicity, marketing, and different services.

January 28, 2024

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