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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Friday Beyond Spotlights – Algernon Yau: Hong Kong is Open for Business

Friday Beyond Spotlights is an informative yet light-hearted talk show airing every Friday at 8:30pm on Hong Kong International Business Channel (#76). The English language program features the most prominent guests who share their insights into current affairs, business, innovation and culture, as well as their ingenuity, passion and grit which forge their Lion Rock Spirit. The show is hosted by businessman and philanthropist Patrick Tsang On-yip, lawyer and lawmaker Nick Chan Hiu-fung, and seasoned business maverick Herman Hu Shao-ming.
Hosted by Nick Chan, episode 12 of Season 2 presents Algernon Yau Ying-wah, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong SAR. His portfolio covers policy areas from trade, commerce to telecommunication and broadcasting, and from promotion of intellectual property and consumer protection to boosting inward investment. Before joining the public service, Yau held key managerial positions in the aviation sector.

Yau says Hong Kong is very energetic at the moment with businesses coming back after the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. “Hong Kong is back to normal. We are seeing people moving around, especially across the border. Many people are flying in and out of Hong Kong, and flight movements are increasing day by day.”

He says the Hong Kong government is moving very aggressively to promote the city as the place for doing business with the world. In addition to being a free trade city and a financial centre, under the National 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) Hong Kong will be developed into the centres for intellectual property trading, art and culture, innovation and technology, and aviation. These will provide plenty of opportunities for businesses to come to do business.

The government has also formulated policy to attract strategic enterprises from around the world to settle in Hong Kong and bring in their talents. It has set up the Office of Attracting Strategic Enterprises (OASES) to offer bespoke packages for potential enterprises, and is setting aside HK$30 billion for joint investment with those enterprises.

Apart from strategic enterprises, InvestHK is also tasked to attract more a thousand good companies to come to Hong Kong to create more than 15,000 jobs in the next 3 years. “We welcome any business coming to Hong Kong, and it doesn’t matter if they are strategic enterprises or other companies or businesses,” adds Yau.

Yau points out that the economic development of Hong Kong has to be totally integrated into China’s policy for economic development, such as the Belt and Road Initiative, and the development of the Greater Bay Area. “The Greater Bay Area has a population of about 86 million, with its GDP (about US$1.9 trillion) accounting for 12-13 per cent of China’s total. We would encourage companies to use Hong Kong as the platform to get into the entire Greater Bay Area. On the other hand, we would like to invite businesses from other parts of the Greater Bay Area to use Hong Kong as a platform to go international.”

He says the government’s application for accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a very important step for Hong Kong to enjoy the free trade agreement arrangement, and tariff and custom boundaries. This will enable Hong Kong to sign free trade agreements with Japan and Korea, the only two among the 15 RCEP members that it has not signed free trade agreement with.

In the program, Yau shows audience an aircraft model as the item which has a special significance to him. “This aircraft model gives me a lot of memories about his life. My first job was in aviation, and then all along I developed my career in aviation for 42 years before I joined the public service,” he says. Yau started working at Jardine Aviation, where he met his wife, and then joined Cathy Pacific at the age of 24, which he describes as a turning point for his career development. Over the years, he has held key managerial positions in the aviation sector such as Chief Executive Officer of Cathay Dragon, Executive Director of Cathay Pacific Board, and Director Service Delivery of Cathay Pacific. Before joining the public service in July 2022, he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Bay Airlines.

Despite his career success, Yau says his career is “not really high flying”. “I struggled a lot during my career in order to climb up to the top of the ladder. It’s not that simple and easy. You need to be very consistent, very aggressive, and very demanding to yourself to make achievement and performance. You have to refresh every day about what you did wrong so that you can improve. I spent 42 years in the aviation industry, and I have no regrets.”

On the future of Hong Kong, Yau says Hong Kong has been successful because of its people. “I would say the Lion Rock Spirit is what we base upon to make Hong Kong so successful. It’s the can-do spirit. We are able to face all the challenges all the time, over the years, and under difficult situations. Hong Kong people can rise up again and again against all odds. I am very confident that Hong Kong will be soaring high again in a sky like an aircraft.”

To watch the video, visit Friday Everyday YouTube Channel – Friday Beyond Spotlights Season 2 Episode 12 l Algernon Yau

Episode 12: https://youtu.be/9LIPA9Png3E

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