HK, mainland firms urged to join hands in overseas investment

Chinese mainland and Hong Kong enterprises should work together and cooperate in overseas investment amid the global economic headwinds, senior officials said at an investment summit in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

CY Leung, chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said mainland and Hong Kong corporations need to strengthen and boost their competitiveness through closer and deeper cooperation in face of fragile global economic recovery dented by Euro-zone debt woes.

“To this end, Hong Kong should make use of its status and advantages as an international financial, trade and shipping hub to coordinate with and support mainland firms in expanding their businesses overseas as well as establishing brands in foreign market,” Leung made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 2nd China Overseas Investment Summit (COIS) at the Hong Kong Conference and Exhibition Center.

Zhang Xiaoqiang, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China, echoed this view in a keynote speech at the conference. He said the NDRC will implement a slew of supportive measures for mainland and Hong Kong firms in joint overseas investment.

“We will encourage mainland firms to set up global investment and operation platform in Hong Kong; simplify the procedures for them in investing in Hong Kong and use the city as a gateway in going global; encourage them to finance overseas investment projects through Hong Kong facilities; and build an information exchange mechanism in overseas investment,” he noted, adding that there are enormous opportunities and huge potential for mainland and Hong Kong firms to expand overseas investment on the basis of complementary comparative advantages.

Hong Kong firms enjoy mature financial infrastructure, a widespread business network and efficient professional support services with rich international experience and expertise in banking, accounting and legal sectors, while the mainland firms offer solid construction and production skills and cost advantages in addition to robust market demand and enhanced corporate governance, he explained.

As the statistics of the NDRC showed, 62 percent of direct investment outflows from the mainland firms either took root in Hong Kong or went abroad via it, pointing to the significant role Hong Kong plays in mainland firms’ fundraising activities and access to global market.

Li Rongcan, assistant minister of commerce, also indicated that the Ministry of Commerce will make continuous efforts to provide more opportunities to mainland firms and their Hong Kong counterparts for promoting overseas investment, including establishing a sustained mechanism of cooperation in data exchange and information sharing; carrying out research in policies and measures conducive to outward investment cooperation; and holding events such as exhibitions and forums to facilitate communications between mainland and Hong Kong corporations.

“As of the end of June this year, mainland investment in Hong Kong has amounted to 225.6 billion U.S. dollars. Hong Kong has been, and will continue to be, a main window and bridge for mainland firms’ overseas investment,” he stressed.

The two-day conference on the theme of “Global Economic Transformation and New Approaches to China’s Overseas Investment” opened in Hong Kong on Wednesday. More than 1,200 government officials, business investors, senior managers and experts from over 40 countries and regions were expected to participate in the high- profile meeting.

The 1st COIS was held in the city on Nov. 15-16, 2011.


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