June 20, 2024

Hong Kong finance chief Paul Chan calls for more ‘open interactions’ and tech collaboration between China, US bay areas

The latter were selected and supported by the Hong Kong Science Park to participate in a six-month exchange programme with their Silicon Valley counterparts, as well as with other tech companies from the wider San Francisco Bay Area.

“[Entrepreneurs from both countries] all recognised the abundant opportunities in each other’s bay areas. They expressed great interest in accessing potential new customers and exploring collaboration in each other’s markets,” Chan said.

He added that the potential for such collaboration was not coincidental but “stemmed from the respective characteristics and advantages” of both bay areas, which “attract each other”.

As a delegate at the US-China High-Level Event on Subnational Climate Action, Chan said participants from both the Greater Bay Area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, and the San Francisco Bay Area “unanimously” recognised the “vast potential” for cooperation in addressing climate change.

Finance chief Paul Chan and California Governor Gavin Newsom meet at the recent Bay to Bay Dialogue in Berkeley, California. Photo: ISD handout

Discussing the talks, Chan said he witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements or memorandums of understanding between US and Chinese partners across a variety of areas that promote mutual investment in tech and in climate solutions.

“Pragmatic topics always serve as a good start for positive collaborations,” he wrote in his blog.

Chan also noted how, in the area of green development, the two bay areas inspired each other by offering new perspectives and ideas, thus “enriching” their approaches to problem-solving.

“Hong Kong leads in the issuance of green and sustainable bonds in Asia, facilitating the region’s green transformation, while California promotes carbon market trading through policy frameworks and measures, accelerating carbon reduction efforts in relevant industries. This is an area where we can draw valuable insights.”

Chan also said that participants from both China and the US believed that the two bay areas, while sharing similarities, “also have their unique characteristics and advantages in terms of talent, technology and capital”.

Chan spent four days in San Francisco and Berkeley as part of the first joint delegation to the United States alongside Guangdong and Macau officials to promote the Greater Bay Area.

In an earlier interview with the Post, he had said the visit was significant for effectively promoting the region of 87 million as part of Beijing’s plan to turn it into a tech powerhouse to rival Silicon Valley by 2035.

Asked if US businesspeople and politicians he met had expressed concern over Hong Kong’s newly enacted domestic national security law, Chan said “no one was concerned about national security” and their focus was very much on “business-related issues”.

“In fact, the concern and interests of the business sector here are about the stability of Hong Kong, the overall business environment, the impact of high interest rates on Hong Kong, also the performance of the stock market and the property market,” he had said.

Separately, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui Ching-yu will depart Hong Kong for a three-country visit to the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal on Sunday night.

He will promote Hong Kong’s fintech scene, in particular the latest financial innovations for a sustainable Web3 ecosystem, including the development of the virtual assets industry, and the payment and tokenisation of real world assets.

Hui will return to the city on June 8.

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