PRESS COVERAGE
  • HONG KONG - With global trade troubled by lingering uncertainties, the special administrative region will staunchly support free trade, defend the multilateral trading system and help build bridges for different trading blocs, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah pledged on Tuesday. “The trade war benefits no one and so, we’ll support free trade and defend the multilateral trading system,” he told a breakfast panel discussion entitled “Hong Kong’s Role in the Changing Multilateral Trade Landscape” on the second day of the 2019 Asian Financial Forum, jointly organized by the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. “We’ll also find ways to build bridges with other trading partners as we have concluded or signed new trade arrangements. We’re building a better environment for businesses,” said Yau. “Uncertainties in the China-US relationship will likely persist in the foreseeable future. These tensions and uncertainties would potentially impact global growth, disrupt trade corridors, and realign and redistribute global supply chains,” asserted Laurence Li Lu-jen, panel moderator and chairman of the Financial Services Development Council -- the government’s top-level advisory body to promote the city’s financial services industry. China and the US have begun three months of talks -- from December last year to the end of next month -- on thorny structural issues, such as intellectual property protection, technology transfers and reducing the US trade deficit with China. If no agreement is reached by March 1 this year, the US has warned it will raise its 10 percent tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent. As at November last year, the HKSAR has signed nine free trade arrangements with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Georgia, the Macao SAR, Australia and the Maldives. “Through FTAs, we’re assuring the market, creating certainty in the unpredictable environment and encouraging international businesses to use Hong Kong as the platform to promote global trade,” Yau added. Victor Fung Kwok-king, group chairman of Fung Group, said the global supply chain adjustment, due to trade corridor rearrangements and trade pattern changes, is not unfamiliar to Hong Kong. “The situation is like when the Chinese mainland is opening up its economy that is affecting global supply chains. Hong Kong is redefining its role to accommodate to the new pattern of trade flows,” he said. The Belt and Road Initiative can further create new opportunities for Hong Kong businesses, according to Fung, when the Chinese mainland’s small and medium-sized enterprises may mass relocate their supply chain networks to various countries along the BRI route. According to the World Trade Organization, Hong Kong was the world’s seventh-largest merchandise trade exporter in 2017. John Slosar, chairman of the Hong Kong-United States Business Council (Hong Kong Section), said Hong Kong enterprises can still employ their nimbleness amid the new environment in international trade. “Although the global trade spat leads to diversification of supply chains, the process, however, takes time so that Hong Kong businesses can adapt to the new situation just like when manufacturers were relocating their supply chains outside the Pearl River Delta region in the last decade,” said Slosar, who is also chairman of Hong Kong’s flagship carrier Cathay Pacific Airways. Hong Kong International Airport has been ranked the world’s busiest airport for international cargos since 2011. The city was also ranked fifth globally in terms of container throughput in 2017. The change in consumption and trade corridors driven by the rise of the middle class on the Chinese mainland, emerging markets, global asset redenomination and the mainland’s capital account opening will reshape the international trade environment, panelists reckoned. Benjamin Hung Pi-cheng, Greater China and North Asia regional chief executive officer at Standard Chartered Bank, said Hong Kong can also play a role in facilitating investment flows into and out of the Chinese mainland.
    2019-01-16
  • For the last five years, the Asia Pacific has been the fastest growing market for impact investments. According to the Global Impact Investing Network, private investors have put in US$904 million through 225 direct deals, and development finance institutions have invested around US$11.2 billion in Southeast Asia alone since 2007. The total was estimated to have reached US$38.6 billion by the end of last year. The impressive amount being channeled into the region is helping impact investing grow in Asia. That has created both opportunities and challenges, both of which were the focus of a roundtable at the 2019 Asian Financial Forum. Co-organized by China Daily and the AFF, the goal of the “Unleashing Impact Investing in Asia” roundtable at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre was to discuss a topic that, at least in Asia, is often misunderstood. “With the erosion of capital and the slowing down of the economy, we want to look at the brighter side of things,” said Zhou Li, editorial board member of China Daily Group and editor-in-chief of China Daily Asia Pacific, in his welcome speech. IN PHOTOS: Roundtable: Unleashing impact investing in Asia “We want to throw the spotlight on the best possible tools of impact investments,” said Zhou, adding that he was happy to note that women made up the majority of the panel. Moderator Alfred Romann, managing director of Bahati Ltd and a contributing editor for China Daily Asia Pacific, kicked off the discussion with a question. “Asia is home to some of the greatest social needs and pools of capital in the world. The question is, how do we match the two?” he asked. Misconception about returns A key obstacle noted by the panelists was a misconception many investors have that sustainable investments do not provide good returns. Amy Lo, co-head of UBS Wealth Management Asia Pacific, recounts the time she spoke about that subject with a wealthy family. “When I brought up impact investing in our conversation, they tried to stop me and said they already have funds set aside for charity. I had to explain that impact investing is an investment strategy that considers environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria that would generate equal, if not better, returns,” she said. “Education is needed to make the distinction between charity and investment. Impact investment is the new kid in the region; it is getting good traction but more awareness is still needed.” Naina Subberwal Batra, chairperson and CEO of AVPN, concurs. “We take a very left and right brain approach to investment and sustainable causes. Philanthropy is very close to all of our minds; there isn’t anyone in this room who doesn’t want to do good. Yet, not enough are applying it to their portfolio,” said Batra. “In the long run, the returns on sustainable investments are actually much better. It’s important to break that boundary,” she added. Lo cited a study a study by UBS on 5,000 global investors, of whom 400 were in Hong Kong. “Two-thirds agreed that impact investing is an important topic. But only 30 percent invested as such. In Hong Kong, 85 percent of them were in agreement. Yet, less than one-third put their money in it,” said Lo. “Achieving any impact is a long-term investment because impact takes time. Investing in industries that either do no harm or are improving conditions is just good business sense. So it should provide the same returns,” said Batra. Geert Peeters, executive director and chief financial officer at CLP Holdings, said environmental, social and corporate governance reporting would help with awareness. “Communication and transparency is important, that’s why ESG matters. Data is the key to engaging others,” said Peeters. He also called for other metrics to measure the benefits of impact investments besides returns. Need for products, teamwork Ronie Mak, managing director of sustainable investment company RS Group, said her firm has been looking at socially responsible investing since its founding 10 years ago. “When we were looking for sustainable investments, we couldn’t find any here that met our requirements. So we had to look to the EU for that. What that means is a flow of capital out of Hong Kong. We need more products and solutions here or in the region that meet investor needs,” said Mak. “What investors need to see are existing funds and actual products with track records. We need product solution suites, not just talk,” she added. Mak stated that it was urgent for Hong Kong to embrace that. “Organizations in more mature sustainable investing markets are looking our way. It’s important that we do it before they do. We have our own unique culture here so let’s build sustainable investing our way.” Mak also responded to an audience member’s remarks about the need for cohesion between all investors and stakeholders. “We recognize the gaps in the ecosystem. Fragmentation is something we see in a lot of initiatives. Collaborations to do it holistically makes sense,” said Mak. She suggested a peer group for likeminded investors so they can learn alongside each other and even co-invest, as it needs to be done “for the world and sustainability”. Judy Chen, chairman of UNICEF Hong Kong, urged everyone to think of the next generation. “We are all parents, our children have to grow in this world we leave them. So let’s look at how we invest our wealth into it and create a better world for the next generation,” said Chen. Karen Ho, an audience member who works in financial products sales at Bloomberg, found the panel discussion “fantastic”. “It was spot on about Asian investors having different views and concerns about impact investing. I also agree with the ideas about collaborations because the market is very fragmented,” said Ho. “I particularly liked the point about building the sustainable investing ecosystem our own way with consideration to our needs and culture. A lot of existing guidelines are very US and EU-focused,” she added. Pindar Wong, chairman of VeriFi (Hong Kong) and chief architect of the Belt and Road Blockchain Consortium, also stressed the importance of impact investing. “If we don’t have impact investing, which encourages sustainable industries, we don’t have very much left. And, I think China has a great opportunity to lead,” Wong said. He believes that through his effective invention — a positive sum cryptocurrency — people can now uses measurements to evaluate the social impact. Wong added that, in the digital world, when talking about ideas, people do not have to play a zero sum game and can actually achieve a win-win situation. There are a lot of problems with negative social impact called “negative externality”. For instance, when a man pollutes (the air) with carbon dioxide, the cost is not borne by him — it’s borne by society. Now, the negative impacts that other people are putting their costs on society must be reduced.
    2019-01-15
  • HONG KONG - Hong Kong has seen significant development concerning awareness and interest in impact investing in the past year — a sudden uptick driven by the SAR government’s top-down push during the period — according to Ronie Mak, managing director of family office RS Group. Impact investing refers to investments with the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return. With impact investing as the theme of a roundtable panel discussion on the sidelines of the 2019 Asian Financial Forum on Tuesday, Mak believed it signals that the term has officially begun to enter the mainstream finance. With the Hong Kong SAR government launching the green bond move last year, the Securities and Futures Commission unveiled its strategic framework for green finance, and the Green Finance Association launched a comprehensive strategy focusing on upping the disclosure requirement of Hong Kong-listed companies. Thus, Hong Kong government officials were all on the same page, and it really has been a momentum driver along the course, said Mak. Due to the lack of investment opportunities on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong that could match RS Group’s needs a decade ago when it first deployed its capital, the company had to turn to US- and Europe-based independent financial advisors to transition their portfolio and find products as well as solutions. “It’s not by choice,” said Mak, recalling that people in Hong Kong and the mainland had hardly even heard of the term impact investing, when the group was founded a decade ago. With the HKSAR government ratcheting up efforts to spur the development of impact investing recently, Mak believed that private investors in Hong Kong have a big role to play in fostering the ecosystem. With the aim of lifting the player pool, Hong Kong-based RS Group launched a sustainable finance initiative in an attempt to build up the community for private investors, said Mak. “Instead of us doing it through another report, we want to do it through this platform.” Launched in June last year, RS Group has seen a lot of interest from private investors who are eager to start it but don’t know how, she noted. “The demand is there, and the issue is how you drive this demand in a way that will make the sector rise,” said Mak, adding that with a more robust market, the whole sector would improve in a more tangible way. For RS Group, the ultimate success is when the whole financial system functions and operates naturally in a sustainable way, she said. And in future, there would be no term for sustainable investing. “It’s just the way that finance is done.”
    2019-01-15
  • 2019年1月15日 香港:主題為“探索亞洲創效投資的發展”的專題研討會今日在香港舉行,本場研討會由中國日報與亞洲金融論壇合辦,吸引逾200名來自政府、金融業以及商界人士参加。 創效投資,也稱為社會價值投資或社會影響力投資。2007年,創效投資作為一種全新的投資形式被首次提出,摩根大通、洛克菲勒基金會和全球創效投資網絡(GIIN)於2010年共同發佈報告,將創效投資定義為一種新興的資產類別。此後,創效投資迅速引起了投資界和公益界的廣泛關注。 在過去五年,亞太地區一直是創效投資增長速度最快的市場。全球創效投資網絡發佈的報告顯示,自2007年以來,東南亞市場個人投資者通過225筆直接交易投資了9.04億美元,金融機構亦投資了112億美元。創效投資在亞太地區持續增長的規模,正為區域帶來新的機遇。 亞洲公益創投網絡主席兼行政總裁蘇萘娜、聯合國兒童基金會香港委員會主席陳晴、瑞銀財富管理亞太區聯席主管盧彩雲、RS 集團執行總監麥依敏,以及中電集團執行董事及財務總裁彭達思應邀擔任本場研討會的演講嘉賓,著重探討了最新的市場資訊、行業趨勢和發展,以在區域的發展進程中更好地定位創效投資。 作為亞太區內公益事業的一支重要力量,亞洲公益創投網絡對創效投資始終抱有熱情與積極態度,公司主席兼行政總裁蘇萘娜指出,需從中長期的角度看待創效投資,這些投資未必需要以犧牲收益為代價,投資可持續發展項目或綠色項目往往會產生更大效益。 作為聯合國兒童基金會香港委員會主席,陳晴在創效投資領域,更多關注的是未來投資。她認為,投資給下一代才是最好的投資,其中包括健康投資和教育投資。社會各界應把眼光放遠,從更廣闊的角度看待問題,互相合作,共同致力於為兒童提供更良好的成長環境。 “無論經濟形勢如何變化,我們的孩子總是需要成長與發展。為了追尋生命的真諦,我們必須謹慎思考應把時間與財富投資到什麼地方,”陳晴表示,“聯合國兒童基金願意與各方一道,為我們的下一代創造一個更美好的世界。” 瑞銀財富管理亞太區聯席主管盧彩雲同意陳晴的觀點。盧彩雲指出,我們其實是向下一代人“借”來了現在的居住環境,將來有一天我們要將這個世界還給他們,所以公營、私營企業等各方必須精誠合作,讓地球變得更宜居,這正是創效投資的意義所在。 盧彩雲亦十分提倡投資與慈善的結合。她亦表示,許多亞洲投資者仍非常務實,對他們來說收益十分重要。這一觀念需要糾正,因為可持續發展投資能夠帶來和常規投資一樣的經濟回報,卻可以產生更大的社會效益。 香港本地企業RS集團,多年來一直致力於推廣“經濟發展不應危及人類發展及環境可持續性”的重要概念,集團執行總監麥依敏認為創效投資正可實現這一願景。她在研討會上表示,香港需要發展創效投資,否則會降低香港的國際吸引力,投資者會將目光轉向海外其他市場;業界已在區內開始擴張,與我們展開競爭態勢;而亞洲獨有的文化和家庭價值觀,可為創效投資創造良好的發展空間和環境,“香港發展創效投資具有獨特優勢,”麥依敏說。 作為一家公共事業公司,中電集團的投資項目注重長期效益。集團執行董事及財務總裁彭達思指出,盡管關注長遠收益無可厚非,但絕不可僅僅如此,我們的投資必須可為社會作出貢獻。“充分的溝通以及信息的透明在這一進程中至關重要,”他補充說。 彭達思還透露,除個別特例外,中電集團已全面停止在煤電上的投資,目前的能源投資主要集中於風能、太陽能等二氧化碳零排放的可再生能源,讓人們投入更低碳的生活。 中國日報亞洲領袖圓桌論壇(www.cdroundtable.com)旨在搭建一個由亞洲國家和地區的政、商、學界領袖和社會精英參與的高端對話和交流平臺,圍繞亞洲地區經濟、商業、產業和社會發展等具有戰略影響的重要議題展開討論和分享見解,以增進中國與亞洲和西方國家的交流和理解。 中國日報是中國國家英文日報,創刊於1981年,擁有報紙、網站、移動客戶端、臉譜、推特、微博、微信、電子報等十餘種媒介平臺,全媒體用戶總數超過2億。截至2018年底,微博粉絲數超過4110萬,微信訂閱人數507萬,客戶端全球下載用戶超過1700萬,臉譜賬號粉絲數超過6300萬,位居全球媒體賬號粉絲數第二位,推特賬號粉絲數306萬。 媒體垂詢: 洪夢求 小姐 電話:(852)3465 5427 電郵:melody@chinadailyhk.com
    2019-01-15
  • HONG KONG - Although we come from a period where utilities were seen as part of the problem, the utility of tomorrow tends to be a part of the solution from an environmental friendly perspective, says Geert Peeters, executive director and chief financial officer of CLP Holdings. “Rather than being part of the past problem of carbon generation, we see ourselves now basically as part of the solution,” he told China Daily in an interview on the sidelines of the 2019 Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong. “So, the utility of tomorrow is that the digital technology will enable us to deliver decarbonized energy to deal with decentralization, to be directly engaged with our customers and to do all that dynamically.” CLP Holdings provides services in Kowloon, the New Territories and on Lantau Island. The objective of decarbonization, Peeters explains, is a commitment starting from Europe, spilling over into the world and now in Asia. For utility companies, it means a more complex system needs to be managed and operated on. Thanks to digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and big data, those complex systems featuring low carbon and even zero carbon goals can be managed by human beings, he said. Thus, CLP has also devoted to projects and startups across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and in its secondary market, India, with an eye on the renewable energy blueprint. For the Bay Area, said Peeters, CLP plans to set its footprint in exploring more low carbon energy and other new energy, smart use of energy, as well as the energy efficiency. The company has already invested in Guangdong province with hydro plants and solar plants. It will also discuss with the SAR government to see if the city’s utility could import more low carbon or zero carbon energy from that region in future. Together with the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, CLP invested in En-trak — a Hong Kong energy management and smart lighting solutions provider — according to the company’s 2018 interim results announcement. “Part of the utility of tomorrow is also to help our customers to be smarter in their use and be more in control of their energy,” said Peeters. CLP is also collaborating with startups from the Silicon Valley and Tsinghua University in energy innovation. By teaming up with Caisse de depot et placement du Québec — Canada’s second-biggest pension fund — the Hong Kong-based utility company will make joint investments in India aimed at “providing clean and affordable energy there”, said Peeters. The commitment to reduce carbon emissions is now a common concept globally and Hong Kong is no exception. By 2020, the HKSAR government aims to increase the use of natural gas in its fuel mix for power production to about 50 percent from less than a quarter in 2012. “With the agreement we have with the city’s government, there’ll be a significant amount of investments that will be made in Hong Kong to lower the carbon intensity of our activity in the city,” Peeters said.
    2019-01-15
  • HONG KONG - The Hong Kong Committee for the United Nations Children’s Fund, commonly known as UNICEF, has urged governments, corporations and private investors to “co-create” novel investment projects for children. Judy Chen, chairperson of the organization, said the best investments would be in the health, education and caring sectors for our next generation, to be carried out together without boundaries. “‘Doing good’ is good business and now we need to do ‘good’ better,” she said. She made the remarks in an interview with China Daily during the 2019 Asian Financial Forum, which entered its second day on Tuesday. Chen said people harbor the impression that UNICEF usually works with governments but, in fact, it now has a diversified pool of partners, including governments, corporations and private donors. In 2017, three quarters of UNICEF Hong Kong’s revenue came from individual donations, while the percentage of corporate partnerships and annual fundraising events was about 15 percent. Besides large enterprises, such as HSBC and Cathay Pacific, Chen said UNICEF is working with some startups to jointly launch innovative projects, such as cryptocurrency donations and crowd-funding programs, to raise funds. For instance, the UNICEF Innovation (Venture) Fund helps to finance early stage startups of open-source technology that can help children. So far, the fund has raised about US$17.9 million. When conducting charity works with innovative methods, Chen stressed that supervision plays a significant role. She cited a project in which UNICEF and Montblanc co-designed a signature pen with a registered number on each product for donors. The code enables the owner to monitor the progress of the initiative and find out the many ways in which UNICEF is improving educational opportunities for children. “Though we’re now using diversified tools, the ultimate goal for me is the same, which is to see a ‘zero’,” Chen said, explaining the “zero” refers to no children starving, suffering from AIDS or dropping out of school. With a professional background in the banking industry, Chen has unique sensitivity for figures and offers insights from investment perspectives to provide better platforms for business partners. A graduate of Menlo College and Harvard Business School, she was a former banker who had held senior positions in various multinational companies, including as president of global wealth management and investment at Merrill Lynch (Asia Pacific). While she was working in private wealth management, numbers were equal to profit or investment returns but now, for her, it means how many children her team has saved from all kinds of adversity. Chen also urged Hong Kong to share its experiences and work in synergy with its Chinese mainland counterparts. “Charity has become a trend on the mainland but it still needs time to improve, especially on organizational structure and related policies,” she said.
    2019-01-15
SPEAKERS
VIDEO
Sponsors & Partners