Canadian companies were encouraged to route through Hong Kong to the vibrant and rapidly growing Chinese and Asian markets at the 2013 National Hong Kong Canada Business Forum held in Ottawa on June 14th.

About 300 people attended the “Think Asia, Think Hong Kong” business forum organized by the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association (HKCBA) and supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO). Participants included delegates from the eight sections of the HKCBA, from Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Ottawa as well as visiting officials from Hong Kong and Mainland China.

The Telfer School was a prominent participant as one of the Forum’s sponsors and collaborators. Marvin Hough, Executive in Residence and HKCBA Ottawa’s Vice President spearheaded the Telfer School’s participation by assisting in organizing the Forum and moderating one of the Panels. Sophia Leong, Director of the Executive MBA program and Mike Miles, Director of the MBA program each played key roles as panelists at the Forum underscoring that the Telfer School is closely monitoring and engaging in the Hong Kong and Mainland China markets.

The Telfer School’s participation also included attendance by 18 of our first year Executive MBA class who will undertake their international business consulting projects in Guangzhou next spring. The Forum served as an excellent window into the opportunities and challenges in doing business in Hong Kong and the broader Pearl River Delta region encompassing Guangzhou As Marvin Hough noted “our key messages at the Telfer Executive MBA is that our program is global, practical and relevant. Hong Kong exemplifies all of these factors as we look ahead for our students, graduates and Canadian executives and therefore we are very excited about being engaged with Hong Kong”  

At the Forum, Alain Doucet, Assistant Dean, External Relations also carried the message that Hong Kong represents an important destination for the Telfer School’s experiential learning initiatives and that growing opportunities for student placements and exchanges are materializing as the School continues to leverage key alumni and other relationships in Hong Kong.

Over the past two decades, the Hong Kong economy has more than doubled in size with the GDP growing at an average of 4.5 per cent for the past 10 years in real terms.

A key message at the Forum was that Hong Kong is the right platform to access the fast growing markets in Mainland China and other parts of Asia, as well as a gateway for Mainland enterprises to go global. There are now 737 Mainland companies listed on Hong Kong stock exchange, while more than 800 Mainland companies have set up regional operations or local offices in Hong Kong.

Marvin Hough emphasized that Hong Kong “is a world city in Asia and a hub for trading, logistics and financial services in the region. It is not just a trade middleman, but a multiplier for capital and services in the region.”

The Forum also highlighted the advantages of Hong Kong including – common law legal system, independent judiciary, financial system, clean government, independent anti-corruption authority, level playing field, simple and low tax regime, as well as strong protection of intellectual property rights.

Canadian businesses were urged not to miss the boat with the rapidly growing wealth in Asia. By 2025, it is projected that the Asian consuming class will increase to more than two billion people who will account for one third of global consumption.

The messages at the Forum were endorsed by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Junsai in his speech at the business forum. The Ambassador said that the Canadian Government has made Asia a “key priority” in its trade and economic diversification strategy. “Hong Kong has naturally attracted greater attention here as a financial, trade and shipping centre,” he said.

The Ambassador said Hong Kong is expected to play a bigger part in China-Canada Strategic Partnership. “The increasing market integration between Hong Kong and the Mainland has provided good opportunities for Canadian companies targeting the Mainland,” said Ambassador Zhang. “Canada can team up better with Hong Kong in participating in the economic transformation of Mainland China.”

The Telfer School was very pleased to play a prominent and multi-faceted role at the Forum and will continue to recognize and draw on the pivotal role that Hong Kong plays in the Asian region’s continued economic development.

More information on the HKCBA Forum