Hong Kong: Growing market for American business
The Hong Kong government and Hong Kong Association of Massachusetts (HKAMA) co-hosted a reception in celebration of The Year of the Rabbit, bringing together those with an affiliation and interest in Hong Kong. Under the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Julia Leung spoke in place of Guest of Honor Hong Kong Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Professor K.C. Chan. Chan could not attend “due to unforeseen official commitments,” according to the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.
U.S. Hong Kong Commissioner Donald Tong offered brief opening remarks about Hong Kong’s current economic situation before Leung updated guests on Hong Kong’s financial markets. Tong expects Hong Kong’s economy to grow by 4-5% this year and looks forward to “strengthening ties” between Hong Kong and Massachusetts in the “Year of the Rabbit.”
Hong Kong is the twelfth largest export destination for the United States. The U.S. is Hong Kong’s second largest trading partner with “over 1,200 companies in Hong Kong,” making it Hong Kong’s “largest source of overseas business”. In Massachusetts, Hong Kong is the tenth largest export destination and according to Tong, Massachusetts exports increased by 26% since 2009.
Leung elaborated on Hong Kong’s surplus budget of 30 billion Hong Kong dollars, equivalent to 4% of GDP last year. The total revenue for the 2010-11 financial year reached 374.8 billion, which is 82.2 billion higher than the original estimate. With this kind of surplus budget, there will be more room for spending on areas like education, health care, and social welfare. Leung also added that Hong Kong’s accumulated surplus constitutes more than 30% of GDP.
Leung noted concerns over inflation and excessive bank-lending before discussing the rise of China and the growth of the Renminbi. Leung “personally” believes that Hong Kong’s current course of action will lead to a “market-based exchange rate system.”
Guests included financial executives, local politicians, professors, entrepreneurs, and members of the Hong Kong Association of Massachusetts. Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Anita Chan mingled with guests during the reception which took place at the Downtown Harvard Club on March 3rd.
CEO and Founder of Solar Engineering Solutions, Mike Lee, an MIT graduate from China, wants to expand his solar air conditioner company into Hong Kong. Lee already has a manufacturing partner in Mainland China, so he is interested in importing and exporting out of Hong Kong.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloane School of Management’s Professor Dr. Graham Rong attended as a “longtime friend of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.”
“I see big opportunities for Hong Kong business” Rong said, adding that Hong Kong is a “buffer zone” between Chinese and Western cultures. He noted that a lot of people are going back to Hong Kong and that Hong Kong presents “good opportunities for people with a Western education.”
Natalie Ornell is a Sampan correspondent.