Chairman & CEO's interview with China Daily - "HK delegate: SAR to shine in high-quality BRI development"

9 February 2023, Abu Dhabi
Impact Investing

(9 February 2023, Abu Dhabi) Cliff Zhang Kun, a young entrepreneur who is part of Hong Kong’s high-powered delegation to the Middle East, said he believes that the special administrative region, the Pearl of the Orient, will shine brighter as the Belt and Road Initiative seeks “quality development” in the decade ahead.

During the delegation’s eight-day trip to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which ends on Saturday, the CEO of Hong Kong-based asset management firm Templewater’s subsidiaries, Wisdom Motor and Bravo Transport, signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi’s Nesma Holding, to work together on transforming commercial fleets in the Middle East and North Africa into zero-emission vehicles.

In an interview with China Daily on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Zhang said that the city can rely on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area’s manufacturing resources to promote quality products to the world, and introduce cutting-edge technologies to China.

The delegation comprises over 30 industry leaders from Hong Kong and government officials led by Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu.

The delegation aims to promote Hong Kong’s development and deepen ties with BRI partners on the 10th anniversary of the global development initiative.

With its vibrant development and potential, the Middle East region is a key link for the BRI, which was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. The Hong Kong delegation’s visit also demonstrates the HKSAR’s proactive participation in promoting the BRI.

Zhang said he believes that in the next 10 years, the BRI will enter its 2.0 era, and cooperation and business activities among members will focus not only on quantity but also on quality.

This will allow Hong Kong, a city known for its high-quality production, talent, and tech strength, to play a greater role in the initiative, Zhang said.

The HKSAR can make good use of the Greater Bay Area blueprint as well as its geographical advantages to help China develop exports, Zhang said.

He used Templewater subsidiary Wisdom Motor, a pioneer zero-emission commercial-vehicle technology company, as an example.

Currently, Wisdom Motor has its headquarters in Hong Kong and manufacturing facilities near Xiamen on the Chinese mainland, with 90 percent of its products being sold globally. As its business scales up with more orders, Wisdom Motor is looking at setting up another production base in the GBA to meet the needs of a bigger manufacturing facility, more land supply, and more labor.

In this way, Wisdom Motor can remain in Hong Kong while exporting its mainland production to overseas markets. It can also work with other GBA cities while expanding to the rest of the world, Zhang said.

Areas for possible collaboration between Hong Kong and the rest of the GBA include investing in overseas markets and bringing overseas technologies back to the home market, Zhang said.

Zhang revealed that his company is cooperating with the Bank of China Hong Kong Asset Management to launch a new fund focusing on investments in hydrogen. The aim will be to invest in overseas enterprises and to bring advanced technologies from global markets back to Hong Kong, and then use Hong Kong as a gateway to enter the GBA and other cities on the Chinese mainland.

Besides, Hong Kong can bridge the supply and demand between mainland China and the rest of the world, creating more business opportunities, Zhang said.

He cited the renewable energy vehicles sector as a good example. The mainland currently has one of the world’s most advanced renewable energy vehicle technologies and supply chains with a vast market. Its products are reliable, advanced and have been tested by the market.

Zhang said he felt confident in promoting these products in the Middle East, adding that they can serve local companies’ needs for mature products that they can trust and can immediately be put into mass use locally.

“As a businessman from Hong Kong, I think there will be more suitable opportunities for us in the next 10 years. So, we would definitely look very closely at what we can do in different areas of the BRI,” Zhang said.

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