23rd September 2023 – (London) Paul Chan, the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong, embarked on a visit to London on 22nd September (London time) to explore business opportunities and foster innovation collaborations. During his visit, Mr Chan engaged with various companies and organizations, emphasizing Hong Kong’s commitment to attracting strategic enterprises and promoting technological advancements.
In the morning, Mr Chan visited AstraZeneca, a leading biopharmaceutical company. He met with senior management to gain insights into the company’s drug research and development initiatives and its expansion plans. Mr Chan highlighted the efforts of the Hong Kong government to attract cutting-edge enterprises in key sectors such as life and health, artificial intelligence, and big data. He assured AstraZeneca of the government’s willingness to provide policy facilitation and even co-investments to support their establishment or expansion in Hong Kong. Moreover, he emphasized Hong Kong’s talent attraction schemes, encouraging enterprises to bring outstanding research professionals to the city. Mr Chan also highlighted Hong Kong’s vibrant ecosystem of private equity and venture capital funds, coupled with the city’s status as the world’s second-largest biotech fundraising centre, which presents opportunities for life and health technology companies to raise funds and expand. He emphasized that the Northern Metropolis, with its favourable geographic and policy advantages, is poised to become a significant innovation and technology hub, welcoming international research institutions.
AstraZeneca expressed interest in developing a research and development centre in Hong Kong following detailed discussions with the Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises (OASES), demonstrating the positive outcomes of Mr Chan’s visit.
Later in the day, Mr Chan attended a roundtable luncheon organized by the China-Britain Business Council. The gathering provided an opportunity for Mr Chan to meet with representatives of British enterprises that currently operate or plan to establish a presence in both mainland China and Hong Kong. Discussions centred around the latest business environment in Hong Kong, the economic outlook, and development opportunities, particularly in finance, green transition, professional services, and the creative industries. Mr Chan highlighted Hong Kong’s unique position under the “one country, two systems” principle, offering familiarity with the mainland market while maintaining the advantages of the common law system and the rule of law. He encouraged British businesses to view Hong Kong as a springboard, platform, and partner for accessing the markets of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, mainland China, and the wider Asian region.
In the afternoon, Mr Chan visited the Royal College of Art (RCA), where he explored the joint initiative between the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and RCA, known as the “Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence in Design” (AiDLab). Funded by the InnoHK Research Clusters, AiDLab focuses on harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in various design fields, including fashion, interior design, and textile materials analysis. Mr Chan had the opportunity to witness applied research projects and learn about the integration of AI in these disciplines. He also received briefings on projects undertaken by the research team. Notably, AiDLab showcased the “Fashion X AI: 2022-2023 International Salon” in London, highlighting Hong Kong’s soft power in design. Mr Chan expressed his anticipation for more innovative exchange programs organized by AiDLab, which would further showcase Hong Kong’s strengths in design.
During his visit, Mr Chan also met with a group of Hong Kong students studying in the U.K. under the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme. He engaged with them to understand their experiences and aspirations, encouraging their success in their studies while expressing hope for their future contributions to Hong Kong’s development.
Continuing his European visit, Mr Chan will proceed to Berlin in the afternoon of 23rd September (London time), further strengthening ties and exploring opportunities for collaboration.