More than 200 business leaders from Hong Kong and India attended a high-level business dinner in Delhi. CY Leung, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Amitabh Kant, Secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India were guests of honour at the dinner hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) at the Shangri-La Eros Hotel in the Indian capital.
The dinner was the concluding event of a successful high-level Hong Kong business mission to India this week to explore business and investment partnership opportunities and to foster closer bilateral ties between Hong Kong and India. Mr Leung led the mission (2-4 Feb) comprising a delegation of 40 prominent business people representing the city’s leading industries, such as financial services, professional services, logistics, shipping, telecommunications, construction and engineering.
Taking bilateral relations to new levels
Speaking at the dinner, Mr Leung said his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the day had been a positive one. “The Prime Minister and I agreed to take our cooperation to new levels and also to broaden the scope of our cooperation,” said Mr Leung, who added that technology cooperation was an area of great potential. “We welcome, and indeed look forward to, Indian research institutions and businesses to work with Hong Kong, and make use of the platform provided by us to advance and promote science and technology. I look forward to seeing the results of our joint research efforts.”
In his remarks, Secretary Kant described Hong Kong as one of the most innovative and creative cities in the world, and said the decision to bring a large business delegation to India would help to boost ties between India and Hong Kong. “I am confident that this initiative will lead to great all-round and comprehensive development of bilateral relations,” he said.
Margaret Fong, Executive Director of the HKTDC, urged Indian companies to take full advantage of the Council’s business promotion platform. Ms Fong highlighted the HKTDC’s presence in India including offices in Mumbai and Delhi and also urged more Indian companies to take part in more than 30 international conferences and trade fairs organised by the HKTDC in Hong Kongannually.
“Every year our trade fairs in Hong Kong attract some 800 Indian exhibitors to market their products and services to global buyers. And close to 14,000 Indian importers, traders and merchandisers come annually to source quality products for their customers,” said Ms Fong.
Hong Kong: Bridging India and China along the Belt and Road
A key theme of the business mission was to explore new opportunities brought about by stronger business links between India and Hong Kong, and Hong Kong’s role as a bridge connecting India to the Chinese mainland market, especially in light of the Belt and Road Initiative spearheaded by the Chinese government.
The Belt and Road Initiative aims to connect Asia and Europe via the Middle East and Africa by a series of transport and infrastructure developments to facilitate trade and cross-border connectivity. By improving infrastructure and facilities in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, South Asia and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, the Belt and Road Initiative will boost financial integration, trade and cultural bonds. India, being a key country along the Belt and Road, can play a crucial role in linking markets together.
On a mission to build ties
The Hong Kong delegation received a valuable insight into India’s infrastructure development by visiting the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation Ltd yesterday. The US$1 billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) is billed as the world’s largest infrastructure project aiming to develop new industrial “smart” cities and converge next generation technologies across different sectors.
With technology collaboration regarded as an area of great potential for future investment and business partnership opportunities between India and Hong Kong, the delegation also visited the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.
HKTDC connecting India and Hong Kong
As well as the business dinner in Delhi, the HKTDC also hosted a luncheon in Mumbai on Wednesday (3 Feb) which attracted more than 120 business and government leaders and welcomed Minister of Industries, Ports, Employment & Self Employment, Government of Maharashtra, Subhash Desai, as guest of honour. During the Mumbai leg of the visit, the delegation attended briefings from leading Indian conglomerates including the Mahindra Group and the Tata Group and visited the Bharat Diamond Bourse and The Capital Building as well as the BSE stock exchange.
Long and strong business links
Hong Kong and India enjoy close and strong bilateral ties formed over more than 150 years of business and cultural links. In 2015, India was Hong Kong’s fourth-largest export market with total exports to India expanding 8.1per cent year-on-year to US$13.1 billion. Major export items included telecom equipment & parts (US$5.1 billion, 39.3% share) and pearls, precious & semi-precious stones (US$4.7 billion, 36.3%). On the other hand, India was Hong Kong’s ninth-largest source of imports in 2015, amounting to US$10.6 billion.India is Hong Kong’s seventh-largest trading partnerglobally with bilateral trade of US$23.7 billion last year.