Hong Kong hosted the inaugural Belt and Road Summit on 18 May to explore business opportunities presented to the world by the Belt and Road Initiative. Held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, more than 20 senior government ministers from countries located along the Belt and Road routes as well as business leaders from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, ASEAN, Europe and other regions spoke at the summit, sharing insights from a wide range of perspectives. The high-level event welcomed more than 2,400 participants, including investors, project owners and services professionals.
HKTDC Chairman Vincent HS Lo and Chief Executive of Hong Kong the Honorable CY Leung spoke at the opening ceremony. Special Guest Speaker, Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China, delivered a keynote speech in the morning session. He shared insights into the opportunities brought about by the Belt and Road Initiative and highlighted Hong Kong's unique advantages and pivotal role in the Initiative.
The summit featured three panel sessions:
During the Keynote Luncheon, the Hon John Tsang, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR, delivered opening remarks and Ms. Jin Qi, Chairman of the Silk Road Fund addressed the audience with a keynote speech. The US$40 billion Silk Road Fund was established to help finance the Belt and Road Initiative in infrastructure and resources, as well as projects related to industrial and financial cooperation.
Some 27 Hong Kong services providers showcasing their expertise in banking and financial services, infrastructural development and professional services. At the Global Investment Zone, 10 countries introduced their investment projects to international investors. In collaboration with the Association of Architectural Practices (AAP) and Association of Consulting Engineers of Hong Kong (ACEHK), the HKTDC mounted a signature display of around 145 infrastructure projects in Hong Kong, showcasing the city's infrastructure and real estate-related services.
At the Dialogue on "The Way Forward", HKTDC Chairman Mr Lo shared the stage with Wang Zhan, President of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and Executive Vice President of Yangtze Council. The dialogue delved more deeply into the next steps for the Initiative and explored how businesses can plan strategically to prepare themselves for the Belt and Road opportunities ahead. During the Dialogue, Chen Dongsheng, President of China Entrepreneurs Forum announced the setting up of a Belt and Road fund in Hong Kong to capitalise on the opportunities.
The HKTDC organised a side business trip to Shenzhen and Qianhai for participants to learn about the latest plans and developments for these Free Trade Zones on the mainland. The Qianhai-Shekou Area in Shenzhen is slated to play a crucial role under the Belt and Road Initiative, providing a strategic platform for cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong in a range of professional services.