InvestHK building bridge for mainland companies to go global

With the 17th China International Fair for Investment and Trade set to open on Sunday in Xiamen of southeast China’s coastal Fujian province, China Daily’s Zhang Haizhou sat down with Victoria Tang, associate director-general of Invest Hong Kong, to discuss the flow of investments between the mainland and the special administrative region, and how the financial hub of Asia connects mainland investors with the world.

Why are you attending this year’s CIFIT, and what is the significance of the event?

At CIFIT this year, Invest Hong Kong is pleased to continue organizing a seminar and media conference on Sept 8 to promote the business advantages of Hong Kong.

It focuses on service industries and will encourage more mainland companies to “go global”.

Invest Hong Kong will also work with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council to host a Hong Kong Pavilion at CIFIT.

The pavilion will feature a thematic design of “Windows of Infinite Opportunities” to highlight the role of Hong Kong as an international business platform offering high-quality professional services, and strengths in logistics, finance, eco-friendliness, fashion, entertainment and product design.

How big is Hong Kong as a destination for investment from the Chinese mainland?

The mainland market is the largest source of inbound direct investment into Hong Kong. According to a government survey, more than 250 mainland companies were maintaining regional operations in Hong Kong to oversee or coordinate their business on a global or regional scale as of last June.

For the first half of this year, Invest Hong Kong has assisted a record 213 overseas and mainland companies to set up or expand in Hong Kong.

The interim results were encouraging because they showed continued strength despite challenging global conditions.

The 213 completed projects came from 33 different markets.

In what ways can mainland investors get help from Hong Kong in their global endeavors?

We have seen an upward trend in investments from mainland companies in Hong Kong, covering a wide spectrum of businesses, such as wholesale and retail trade, financial services, logistics, construction, information and communication technology, hospitality and tourism as well as consultancy services.

As an international financial, trade and shipping center, Hong Kong offers a free, open and liberal market economy.

Hong Kong scores highly for its business-friendly environment, rich experience in international marketing, robust regulatory regime, world-class infrastructure and rich pool of skilled professionals and services staff.

Are there any restrictions or barriers for the mainland’s firms to invest in Hong Kong? Does Hong Kong have a preference for firms from any sectors in particular?

There is generally no entry barrier to direct investment in Hong Kong and we offer all a level playing field.

Mainland companies are welcome to set up or expand in Hong Kong and use the place as a “testing ground” for expanding overseas.

Service industries currently account for some 93 percent of Hong Kong’s GDP.

Investors often set up regional headquarters or regional offices in Hong Kong for sales, marketing, distribution, finance, management and R&D functions and form strategic partnerships with Hong Kong entrepreneurs.

What are the major advantages of Hong Kong compared to other attractive destinations at a time when increasing numbers of mainland investors are going global?

Hong Kong ranked third in terms of global Foreign Direct Investment inflows in 2012, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s World Investment Report 2013.

Hong Kong’s enduring advantages, including its low and simple tax regime, rule of law, free flows of information and capital, and a workforce with an international perspectives, continue to make it a desirable platform for overseas and mainland investors.