Hong Kong can play a key role in shaping the megatrends of the 21st century being as it is one of the world’s most competitive and freest economies and a major international financial centre with the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and a robust legal system, Chief Executive John Lee said on Thursday.
He made the remarks at the FII PRIORITY Hong Kong Summit, adding that the two-day event is yet another significant step in deepening ties between Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.
In his keynote speech, Lee said he was delighted that the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute chose Hong Kong to host the conference, and the SAR can help shape global megatrends in finance, innovation and sustainability.
“Hong Kong is the world's pre-eminent gateway and a 'super value-adder' for economies, cultures and peoples, East and West,” Lee said, adding that the city’s free flow of capital and information, robust common law system and multilingual workforce contribute to the city’s status as a major international financial centre.
“Of course, all this is made possible by the unique 'one country, two systems' principle. It affords us unparalleled access to the mainland of China and the rest of the world. And we will continue to play an engaging role in defining and shaping the megatrends of this 21st century,” Lee said.
Pointing to a 25 percent increase in the number of fintech companies operating in Hong Kong, Lee said about 1,000 start-ups are providing “inspiring and ground breaking solutions” in areas such as digital payment technology, decentralised finance and digital identity.
He added that Hong Kong has also invested over US$25 billion in innovation and technology, which, along with the city’s financial strengths, allows tech companies to tap into the capital market to further expand.
“Collins Dictionary has named ‘AI’ (artificial intelligence) this year's 'word of the year'. Interestingly, Merriam-Webster's word of the year is ‘authentic’. Make of that what you will. But know that Hong Kong believes in AI, authentically, sincerely,” Lee said.
The CE said the SAR will establish an AI supercomputing centre next year to support the demand for computing power, adding that the city’s InnoHK research clusters take AI, robotics, as well as healthcare as primary focuses.
He added that the city is also committed to the “global green revolution”, and authorities are deploying some US$30 billion to cut carbon emissions by half by 2035, before achieving carbon neutrality before 2050.
Meanwhile Laura Cha, chairwoman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, said geopolitical risks and macro challenges mean the world needs connectivity now more than ever, and the city's stock exchange will closely look into and seize on financing opportunities in the Middle East, China and elsewhere in Asia.