2022 RT Banner.gif

China Daily

News> Hong Kong> Content
Published: 02:18, February 09, 2023 | Updated: 10:27, February 09, 2023
HK-UAE ties gain traction with signing of three deals
By Shadow Li in Abu Dhabi
Published:02:18, February 09, 2023 Updated:10:27, February 09, 2023 By Shadow Li in Abu Dhabi

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu listens to a briefing during a visit to the China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone at the Khalifa Industrial Zone in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, on Wednesday. PHOTO COURTESY OF HKSAR GOVERNMENT

Hong Kong-UAE ties gained steam on Wednesday with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region signing three pacts with the United Arab Emirates at a high-level investment forum held in Dubai to tell the SAR’s good stories and promote the Chinese city on all fronts.

The memorandums of understanding were signed on the last leg of an eight-day visit by a Hong Kong top-level government and business leaders’ delegation at the UAE-Hong Kong Business Forum and Lunar New Year Gala Dinner in Dubai on Wednesday.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, in a speech at the forum, extended invitations for the UAE to invest, set up family offices and bring their business to the city and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which is home to a population of 84 million people, and generates GDP of $1.3 trillion.

The GBA is poised to become a global innovation and technology powerhouse, in which Hong Kong will play a pivotal role, Lee said. 

The UAE is Hong Kong’s largest trading partner in the Middle East. In 2021, about 9.5 percent of the goods traded between the UAE and the Chinese mainland passed through Hong Kong.

Lee said that collaboration could also be deepened by leveraging Hong Kong’s strengths as the largest offshore renminbi center and a fintech hub. 

Hong Kong saw a surge in fintech, with the number of fintech companies growing to 800 in the past five years. In 2021, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority signed a memorandum of understanding with the Central Bank of the UAE to enhance fintech cooperation. 

Hong Kong architecture firm Ho & Partners Architects together with Negawatt, a Hong Kong venture-backed social and governance (ESG) property technology firm, signed a memorandum in Dubai with Masdar City, a smart city development in Abu Dhabi and a subsidiary of Emirati state-owned Mubadala Development Company; and Catalyst, a venture capital and incubator platform co-founded by Masdar City and British Petroleum.

Ho & Partners Architects and Negawatt will provide design and technology solutions to help reduce the carbon footprint of a pilot project at Masdar City to explore sustainable urban living. 

Hong Kong architect Nicholas Ho Lik-chi, chair of Ho & Partners Architects, said the cooperation was monumental and showed good timing as the UAE project needs exactly what the firm can offer. 

The forum also saw the inauguration of an office in Hong Kong established by the Dubai Chambers. A panel discussion themed “HK and UAE: Partnering in Economic Diversification” was held at the forum. 

Lee and delegation visited the China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Park in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday morning. The park is one of China’s overseas Economic and Trade Cooperation Zones, and developed under the Belt and Road Initiative. 

“The success of the Demonstration Park, which is a joint project between China and the UAE, is a testament to the significance and potential of the Belt and Road Initiative,” Lee said on a social media post on Wednesday. 

“The Demonstration Park sets a good example and offers valuable experience for Hong Kong enterprises that wish to expand business in the Middle East,” he said. 

Earlier this week, the delegation visited Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, during which six similar deals were closed between Hong Kong companies and their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, including deals on zero-emission new energy vehicles, trade and stock exchanges. The HKSAR government also announced, during the trip, it will start negotiations on investment protection and promotions with Saudi Arabia. 

During Lee’s visit to Riyadh, Hong Kong’s leader attended the LEAP 2023 technology conference and met with Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin H. Nasser, in a bid to persuade Saudi Arabia’s State-owned oil giant Aramco to list in the Asian financial center. Lee also met with government officials, business leaders and visited an exhibition showing the futuristic design of the Neom smart city project, which is part of the Saudi government’s Vision 2030. 

On Monday, Lee and the delegation arrived in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE, on the second leg of the Middle East visit by the high-level delegation. He was greeted at the airport by Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, minister of state for artificial intelligence, digital economy and remote work applications of the UAE; Zhang Yiming, Chinese ambassador to the UAE; and Shaikh Saoud Ali Almualla, consul general of the UAE in Hong Kong.

Lee will visit the HKSAR’s Economic and Trade Office in Dubai on Thursday before wrapping up the visit on Saturday.


Share this story

Please click in the upper right corner to open it in your browser !