A top business chamber said collaboration between Hong Kong and the Middle East is set to improve thanks to Chief Executive John Lee's visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that begins on Saturday.
George Leung, chief executive officer of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, said the city hasn't paid a lot of attention to the Middle East market, as opposed to Europe and America, but that's about to change as the SAR looks for new business partners.
He also said business representatives in the Middle East hope to invest in Hong Kong, or even have their firms listed here.
The General Chamber of Commerce plans to meet with representatives of major business chambers during Lee's visit.
"I hope that from this trip, the chambers of the two places can build up some sort of relationship or regular contact, so that we can brief each other about the situation in their own places... In the past, we did not have a very close contact, and I think that this is the chance for us to look forward to how to build up this sort of relationship," Leung said.
Lee will lead a delegation of government officials and high-level business representatives in a visit aimed at realising business opportunities for Hong Kong and telling good stories of the SAR.
Lord Edwin Hitti, president of the Arab Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, agrees that the trip is a "very good first step" for the SAR and the Middle East to build stronger ties.
He called on the authorities to offer sweeteners to try to attract Middle East businesses to Hong Kong.
"If we're telling the success story of Hong Kong, everybody knows that already... Are we telling them new measures Hong Kong has taken and new initiatives Hong Kong is offering, and new advantages that Hong Kong is putting on the table? That is going to be of interest," he said.
Lord Hitti added that Hong Kong can review its financial regulations to make it easier for Middle East businesses to set up shop here.