Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (second left) and Minister of Investment of Saudi Arabia Khalid Al-Falih (second right) witness the exchange of six pacts between Hong Kong and Saudi Arabian enterprises in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Feb 5, 2023. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Sunday said the cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong had risen to a new level as the two governments were in talks to broaden their collaboration in areas ranging from investment protection and promotion to legal and cultural exchange.
Negotiations will involve a bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) promoting direct investment cooperation, which is expected to fast track business and investment collaboration on either side.
In a speech delivered at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-Hong Kong Investment Forum and Chinese New Year Gala Dinner held in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, on Sunday evening, Lee also said, “Hong Kong has long been the Asia-Pacific region's multi-level bridge for foreign and Mainland Chinese businesses and investors. As our integration with the Mainland continues to deepen, so, too, do the opportunities for Hong Kong – and the economies and companies that work with Hong Kong.”
Khalid Al-Falih, minister of investment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, gave a speech at the event as well.
At the forum, Lee and Khalid Al-Falih witnessed the exchange of six pacts covering finance, innovation technology, business, transportations and energy, to name a few.
About 300 representatives of local authorities and business leaders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region gathered on Sunday evening at the Riyadh forum to explore collaboration prospects in trade, finance, innovation and technology and art and culture.
ALSO READ: CE sees potential for expanding HK's cooperation with Mideast
During the speech, Lee said Hong Kong had much to offer in the areas of trade and investment, financial and professional services sectors, as well as infrastructure development. “Our bilateral merchandise trade reached $1.7 billion in 2021, up eight percent, year on year,” he said.
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (left) meets with Minister of Investment of Saudi Arabia Khalid Al-Falih in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Feb 5, 2023, during his visit to Saudi Arabia as part of his Middle East tour. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)
About 300 representatives of local authorities and business leaders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region gathered on Sunday evening at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-Hong Kong Investment Forum to explore collaboration prospects in trade, finance, innovation and technology and art and culture
Highlighting Hong Kong’s strengths in infrastructure services that ranged from feasibility studies and project management to architectural and engineering design, site supervision and town planning, Lee said Hong Kong was looking for greater involvement in Saudi Arabia's plans for restructuring the King Abdullah Financial District and other infrastructure development. The CE stressed how Riyadh’s “Vision 2030 is also being built on innovation and technology, as his Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has emphasised.”
The CE pointed out that Hong Kong had already been involved in many projects in Saudi Arabia. Three of six Metro lines in Riyadh, to be opened to passengers later this year, were designed by the Hong Kong branch of the international consultancy, Atkins. Likewise, Hong Kong’s Hutchison Ports is managing the Port of Jazan City which was built by China Harbour Engineering.
ALSO READ: HK moots promotion exercise in Feb to lure visitors, businesses
Later this year, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority will lead a high-level financial delegation to the Middle East, Saudi Arabia included, to explore further cooperation, Lee said.
On Sunday, three MoUs and two letters of Intent (LOI) between Hong Kong enterprises and Saudi Arabia companies were signed. Hong Kong’s homegrown high-tech unicorn SenseTime, exchanged an LOI each with King Abdullah Financial District and Sela Company.
Hong Kong’s leading homegrown asset management company Templewater Limited, along with its two subsidiaries, Bravo Transport, parent of CityBus and New World First Bus, and Wisdom Motor - a zero-emission commercial vehicle tech company headquartered in Hong Kong - signed an MoU with one of Saudi Arabia’s largest private conglomerates, Nesma Holding.
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (second left) tours "THE LINE Experience" exhibition to learn about the innovative urban designs of the futuristic city NEOM in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Feb 5, 2023, during his visit to Saudi Arabia as part of his Middle East tour. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)
On Sunday, three memoranda of understanding (MoUs) and two letters of Intent (LOI) between Hong Kong enterprises and Saudi Arabia companies were signed. Hong Kong’s homegrown high-tech unicorn SenseTime, exchanged an LOI each with King Abdullah Financial District and Sela Company
Templewater and Nesma will work together on transforming commercial fleets in the Middle East and North Africa into zero-emission vehicles, Cliff Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Templewater told China Daily. “The MoU is a key milestone for Bravo and Wisdom and it showcases what the CE mentioned about Hong Kong being well positioned to contribute to Saudi’s Vision 2030, and the mutual benefits that collaborations between the two sides brings,” Zhang said.
The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce also exchanged an MoU.
Traditional lion dance and performance by Hong Kong artists at the forum drew applause from the local audience.
Lee, who led a prominent delegation from Hong Kong, arrived in Riyadh early Sunday morning for an eight-day visit to the Middle East, to pursue efforts to promote the city on all fronts.
Earlier on Sunday, Lee met Turqi A. Al-Nowaiser, deputy governor of Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. PIF, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, opened a subsidiary office in Hong Kong last year.
READ MORE: HK, Saudi Arabia eye further cooperation
During the meeting, Lee extended invited Al-Nowaiser and other Saudi businessmen to visit Hong Kong and see for themselves the vast opportunities offered by the city.
Lee and his delegation also paid a visit to a multimedia exhibition, showcasing the futuristic design of Saudi’s mega smart city project – Neom near the Red Sea.
Prior to that, Lee met the Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih.
The CE is scheduled to wrap up his visit to the Kingdom and depart for Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates later on Monday.
HONG KONG NEWS