Asia Forum 2021 (Zoom Meeting) (10 June 2021) Asia Forum is an annual regional forum organised by the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide. This event serves the purpose of facilitating exchange between Hong Kong Business Associations in the region to cultivate deeper connections and business networking. The event is open to members of the 46 HK Business Associations under the Federation with active participation from members in Asia. This year, a Regional Webinar cum Asia Forum, co-organised by HKTDC and the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide, was held on 10 June 2021. In view of the travel limitation due to Covid-19 pandemic, the Asia Forum was conducted by online. PARTICIPANTS 78 participants (excluding HKTDC representatives) attended the 18th Asia Forum online from the Hong Kong Business Associations in Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mainland China, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam as follows: The Federation of Hong Kong Business Association Worldwide (The Federation) Hong Kong Business Association of Cambodia (HKBAC) Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in China (HKCCC) Indonesia-Hong Kong Business Association (IDHKBA) Japan-Hong Kong Society (JHKS) Hong Kong-Korea Business Association (HKKBA) Hong Kong-Malaysia Business Association (HKMBA) Myanmar Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MHKCCI) Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (HKCCPI) Hong Kong Singapore Business Association (HSBA) Thai-Hong Kong Trade Association (THTA) Hong Kong Business Association Vietnam (HKBAV) Hong Kong Australia Business Association – National (HKABA) Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association (HKNZBA) PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS In his Opening Remarks, Mr Dennis Chiu, Chairman of the Federation of HK Business Associations Worldwide sent warm wishes to those all joining this year’s Asia Forum 2021. Before the start of Asia Forum, he reminded all Heads of Association that the Federation Office Holders election would be coming; and this year, the post for “Honorary Treasurer” would be taken by Asia/Australasia and he invited those interested candidates to run the election. He shared that despite the challenging moment, the Federation has been building a cohesive bond between the Federation and BA members since last meeting such as enhancing communications, and regional collaboration by initiating a 1-to-1 networking platform on the Federation’s website, constantly updating the Federation’s website and LinkedIn page, and also by sending regular circulars to members on BA’s activities and HK Government’s weekly digest on HK’s economic updates. He also encouraged to BAs to engage young executives, start Youth Chapters and initiate “Young Executive Programme” and “Start-up Awards” etc. to boost recruitment of youth members. Latest Updates and Initiative Plans of HKBAs 2021/2022 Ms Amy Siu from Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in China (HKCCC) shared that under the new National 14th 5-year plan for Mainland China included Cultural Exchange, hence, HKCCC has produced a documentary titled “The Story of 100 Hong Kong People in Mainland”. The objective of this documentary was targeted at 3 different groups of audience, namely: Mainland – to offer the people in Mainland China insights and learn of the positive values made by the people from Hong Kong; Hong Kong – to have a better unique angle and gain deeper understanding of Mainland China’s improvement and latest changes; International – through this documentary as a bridge to showcase the progress in China and the new ways to see Hong Kong people of today. The documentary has also been very fortunate to be awarded as the official 2021 major project (documentary) by the Ministry of Culture. Mr Masahito Sato from the Japan Hong Kong Society – National (JHKS) shared the activities that were organised by JHKS over the past year. The events included JHKS National Secretary Meeting 2020 and JHKS National Annual General Meeting 2020 whereby the other 11 chapters in Japan gathered to attend; and the Hon Mitsuhiro Wada, the Ambassador and Consul-General from Consulate -General of Japan in Hong Kong was also invited to share the latest updates in Hong Kong. He reported 179 participants out of the 700 attendees joined the HK Forum Online 2020, and this was the single largest number of participants from one country to attend HK Forum 2020. He also remarked that it was quite remarkable to have another 60 participants from Ueda College of Fashion from JHKS- Kansai participate at the Young Executive Programme during HK Forum. Other programmes during the past year were: 10 June 2020 - JHKS – Tokyo organised an online Zoom meeting cum seminar for Corporate members networking with guest speaker from HK Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry who updated the attendees the latest updates on Hong Kong. 17 Nov 2020 - Another Online Hong Kong Business Seminar was organised by JHKS – Tokyo, HKTDC and Invest HK with the speaker from Pan Pacific Retail Management (HK) Co, Ltd, the company which operates Don Don Donki stores across Asia on their expansion plans in Hong Kong. 17 Dec 2020 – JHKS- Kansai together with HKTDC hosted an online HK seminar with speakers from Zen Foods Co (HK) and LTG. 5 March 2021 – JHKS and HKTDC held their annual CNY celebrations with hybrid seminar. In April 2021 – the results from the 7th survey of business environment in HK was conducted by the Consulate General of Japan in HK, JETRO and Hong Kong Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the new National Security Law was released. Mr Sato-san shared some of the finding results to the audience. Mr Dixon Chew, President of Hong Kong Malaysia Business Association (HKMBA) shared that the past year had been a challenging year for everyone. Basically, there had been a K shaped economy in Malaysia whereby some companies had managed to grow, while many others had been negatively impacted. For the whole last year, HKMBA managed to conduct a few conferences and physical meeting and gatherings. And one of the gatherings with around 40 pax was together with Standard Chartered Malaysia for a GBA symposium. In March 2021, the Association managed to organise a business luncheon purely for members. This was because in the past, such business networking events included non-members; and for several members it was their first time to attend a physical event since the Covid-pandemic last year. So, to have 60 to 70 members participating at the physical event was certainly quite an achievement. HKMBA also managed to secure sponsorship from HKETO to publish a membership directory for HKMBA. The directory was A5 size, 3000 hard copies and e-version was distributed to Govt ministries and agencies, mutlipliers, media and co-working places. The publication was used as a marketing tool to promote and create business opportunities for their members. To encourage members to interact, HKMBA developed and push out several year-rounds of social media stickers such as local and international festive greetings for their members to interact among themselves. HKMBA also managed to minimize drop of membership. In fact, through the offer of 1 member get 1 new member, HKMBA managed to recruit 10 new members and quite a few were youth entrepreneurs. Finally, HKMBA would be holding their virtual AGM next week. To create best practices, they had invited other associations’ heads/senior office bearers to attend and witness their AGM as observers with the hope of getting them to become members and providing a deeper expertise and wider network year-on-year for the existing members. Mr Andrew Sayers from Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association (HKNZBA )shared that his country was lucky not to have too many lockdowns and was less impacted by border restrictions. One of their most popular and well attended events was the address by Mrs Carrie Lam to the New Zealand Business Community. The inspirational and well-attended one-hour business webinar was co-hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office and held on 6 May 2021. She spoke about the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the opportunities offered to NZ businesses. To promote their Association, they also work alongside with other trade agencies. The Vice President of the HKNZBA and Mr Sayers had just recently met with the Canton Chamber of Commerce and they are looking at significant collaboration with them on GBA initiatives and also with the China Trade Association in New Zealand. HKNZBA intends to leverage on their events for their members and vice versa and hopefully this would work well for the Association. The Association also promotes via common social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook to create and expand their visibility to the local business community. Finally, they also collaborate and sponsor a very significant award to be held in September this year called the China Trade Award. The Award is of significant cost to them, but they do this to promote Hong Kong to a big audience of around 700 pax and it’s a black-tie event once every two years and it’s a great opportunity to talk about “Why HK” and the “HK Brand”. As for the Young Professionals, they have 3 student sponsorships that goes to universities they provide; and in return they get these youths to assist with photography at their events and maintain the Association website; and with the hope that these students can continue to promote the HK brand after their graduation. Mr Tom Kimson from Hong Kong Business Association of Cambodia (HKBAC) shared that he was presenting on behalf of Mr Yam Sui Sang, Chairman of HKBAC. He shared a brief update on the current situation in Cambodia. Due to Covid-19, businesses in Cambodia has been badly affected and the economy growth is around minus 2 to 3 per cent. But this year, the Government is expecting a growth about 3 to 3.5 per cent. Even the IMF was also giving this same growth estimate. However, the Covid-19 infection spread earlier in the year was bad and he personally did not think that a growth of 3 per cent was possible because tourism is the key industry that generates revenue for the economy and exports have also been badly affected as some of the factories had to close or slow down due to infections. But luckily China has shipped a lot of vaccines to Cambodia and already 3 million people have been vaccinated and hopefully the economy can recover, and tourists would come back to Cambodia. Agriculture was one industry that had not been much impacted by Covid-19. In fact, export of mangoes to China has created awareness to the Chinese and many Chinese investors were now going to Cambodia to invest in food crops areas. Over the past year, the Association had also contributed to social responsibility by helping to donate to flood victims as well as Covid-19 cases by donating personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment to the Ministry of Health. Updates by Irene Hau, Federation Secretary on Hong Kong Forum and arrangement of upcoming Election Ms Irene Hau, Federation Secretary shared that Hong Kong Forum remained the most important annual event for the Federation. This year, HK Forum would be held from Nov 30 to Dec 1. By September, the Federation Secretariat would confirm if the event could be held physically or via online like last year. Irene then outlined the 2 Day programme if HK Forum could be held physically. On Day 1, the Secretariat would arrange two optional side trips to either The Medical Centre of CUHK (Smart Hospital facility) or Hong Kong Airport Authority (new logistics facility or development of the new commercial centre), after which the regional caucuses for Asia and Australasia, Europe and Americas would be held. In the evening, a cocktail reception would be arranged for everyone to get together for face-to-face networking. On Day 2, it would cover the Federation’s AGM, the main session of HK Forum, the introduction of candidates for the 2021-2024 Federation Officers, the Awards Presentation Ceremony and Keynote Luncheon. This would be followed by a session on the Greater Bay Area, the Young Executive Programme; thereafter the Federation would hold their Executive Committee meeting followed by the Election. On Dec 2-3, a side trip to a near-by city such as Shenzhen/Qianhai would be arranged. The HK Forum would highlight Hong Kong’s role in re-building global connectivity with new business opportunities in the post-pandemic era. Featuring the latest innovation, technology, sustainability and development in GBA. The Forum programme will also look into the regional opportunities for global members to expand into the market with networking sessions for GBA enterprises, Hong Kong business community and Federation members to foster more business exchanges and networking. This year, the Federation’s Awards Programme would cover 4 awards, namely: Youth Development Award Best Initiative Award Outstanding Membership Award Excellent Start-up Award For the upcoming Election, the Chairmanship would be taken up by Europe, Vice Chairman by the Americas, Honorary Treasurer by Asia and Australasia, and Honorary Secretary by Europe. Irene further shared the timeframe of the upcoming election. And that in case Hong Kong Forum would be conducted by online, the election would also be conducted by digital format. Details to be announced in due course. CLOSING REMARKS In the closing remarks, Mr Dennis Chiu expressed his appreciation to the fellow Federation association’s heads for their valuable contribution to Asia Forum 2021. He was very thankful to hear the new initiatives from the different BAs especially during these difficult times and their sharing were insightful and inspiring. He said, “When there are risks, there are opportunities”. And Hong Kong is well positioned to provide immense collaboration opportunities with the nearby GBA cities. He reiterated the Federation would continue the momentum to act as a bridge not only between the Government and the private sector, but also between the East and the West, fostering global co-operation and communication exchange. Lastly, Mr Chiu expressed his appreciation to all for supporting him as Chairman and looked forward to seeing everyone hopefully in person in Hong Kong at HK Forum 2021.