Officials tout biz opportunities at HK GreenTech Summit

Liu Yifan

Officials tout biz opportunities at HK GreenTech Summit

As the global decarbonization drive gains pace, Hong Kong is poised to capitalize on the massive sustainability business opportunities and lead the green-technology charge, officials and experts said at the Hong Kong GreenTech Summit 2024 on Monday.

“The potential for global green development is immense, and Hong Kong will not be absent in this wave,” Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po told a conference hall packed with business leaders, venture capitalists and academics.

The finance chief’s words came as countries worldwide are striving to promote green and low-carbon transformation — a trend that is fundamentally changing the development model that previously emphasized growth while overlooking social costs.

Clean energy is a case in point. According to the finance chief, global investments in the single sector last year were estimated at $1.7 trillion, surpassing oil-related upstream industries for the first time.

In the finance chief’s budget last year, Chan put forward the vision of forging Hong Kong into a global hub for both green technology and finance to capitalize on the booming transformation.

For officials, the city’s strengths in its complete funding ecosystem, research capabilities, and international connectivity are the prerequisites for a bright tomorrow of the city’s greentech ambition.

From venture capital and private equity funds to listing platforms, Hong Kong has long been seen as a prime fundraising center to meet the financing needs of startups and companies at different stages.

“Hong Kong also offers high-quality professional services, playing a crucial role in facilitating connections between the Chinese mainland and international standards, green project certifications, and the like,” Chan said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of attendees thronged exhibition stalls of about 50 greentech startups from local, mainland and overseas at the venue, including those involving carbon capture, storage solutions and green financing.

Addressing the greentech gathering, Ma Jun, chairman of the Hong Kong Green Finance Association, said Hong Kong’s local decarbonization market opportunities could reach HK$5 trillion ($639 billion) due to substantial investment needs in areas such as transportation, shipping, and buildings.

“Hong Kong can further pioneer demonstration projects in green construction, low-carbon transportation and the circular economy while constructing a robust ecosystem to attract greentech enterprises from the Chinese mainland and abroad through promoting incubation and acceleration policies, concessional finance and innovative use cases,” Ma said.

The greentech summit kicked off a vast array of sustainability-themed events and discussions under the Hong Kong Green Week, which began on Monday.

On the heels of it will be the “Climate Business Forum: Asia-Pacific”, co-hosted by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the International Finance Corp, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

According to officials, the six-day campaign is expected to attract about 5,000 attendees from across the globe.

Chinese Academy of Engineering academician He Kebin said that it is crucial to boost international collaboration and green finance strength to catalyze innovations while helping product marketing.

Approximately half of these technologies, especially in energy storage and hydrogen energy, are still in the process of maturing and reaching the commercial stage, He said.

Leveraging Hong Kong’s historical position as an international financial center, its proximity with the mainland, and its edges in carbon neutrality technologies will play a unique role in coordinating global climate efforts and unlocking significant commercial opportunities, he added.

Adair Turner, chairman of the Energy Transitions Commission, said China is a leader in the reduction in wind turbine costs, battery chemistry and electronic vehicles of solar photovoltaic area.

He said he hopes to see Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland play a major role in the decarbonization of shipping.