Motion on “Developing Hong Kong into a Regional Professional Services Hub” (2021.05.05)

MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): Deputy President, Hong Kong is an international financial centre, an international trade centre and a metropolitan city, we should always consider how to maintain its competitiveness. As a matter of fact, a number of factors unfavourable to Hong Kong have emerged in recent years, such as the Sino-US trade war, the “black-clad violence” and the outbreak of the epidemic, and all these can potentially affect the confidence of international investors in Hong Kong, thus undermining Hong Kong’s status as a financial centre. In the face of all these challenges, Hong Kong must strive to enhance its competitiveness and maintain its international status.

In order to maintain its international status, Hong Kong needs to do a lot of things, including better equipping the city by, for example, promoting the continued development of our professional services, which may attract investors from all over the world to invest in Hong Kong, and serve the development needs of the country at the same time. Hence, the motion moved by Ir Dr LO Wai-kwok today on “Developing Hong Kong into a regional professional services hub” will definitely have my support.

With regard to the future way out for Hong Kong, apart from keeping on engaging in financial development, taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative as well as the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area are important opportunities for Hong Kong because all of these need a lot of professional services, especially the Belt and Road Initiative. As the country is not yet able to keep its professional services fully on a par with the international standards, or is still in lack of international experiences, Hong Kong can make contribution in this respect. It is therefore really necessary for Hong Kong to promote the continued development of its professional services.

In fact, although the insurance industry of Hong Kong is part of the financial services sector, it also provides many specialized insurance services, including reinsurance, property insurance, major project insurance. With ample international experiences, our insurance industry can also contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative in the future.

Developing Hong Kong into a regional professional services hub will make an important contribution to maintaining Hong Kong’s status as an international metropolitan city and financial centre. Hong Kong has been subject to many unreasonable criticisms and even sanctions in the international community since the deterioration of the Sino-US relations and the “black-clad violence”, thus leading to the worry that Hong Kong’s international status will be shaken. As internationalization is the lifeline of Hong Kong, we must strive to consolidate Hong Kong’s international status. This is actually the goal I would like to achieve when advocating all these years to develop headquarters economy in a bid to attract international investors to come and do business in Hong Kong. The idea to develop the territory into a regional professional services hub seeks also to achieve the same objective, because once an expanded market space is available for the development of our professional services, international professional organizations as well as professional personnel will be attracted to Hong Kong, and this will bring about an inflow of international capital, thereby providing comprehensive support to our financial centre.

Furthermore, professional services have always been one of our pillar industries in Hong Kong, with a large number of practitioners, and many university students are eager to join the relevant trades and businesses. However, as ours is a rather mature economy, in the face of fierce competition, promising development opportunities may not be available to many university graduates even though they have obtained professional qualifications. If we can develop Hong Kong into a regional professional services hub and expand the market space, a greater number of professional posts will be created to provide professional personnel with more development opportunities. This will also enable more young people to join the professional sectors and offer them an opportunity for upward mobility, which I think can help to reduce their grievances.

Mr Tony TSE has included a number of suggestions in his proposed amendment today, such as urging the Government to perfect the mechanism for mutual recognition of professional qualifications between Hong Kong and the Mainland by including more Hong Kong professional sectors not recognized by the Mainland in the scope of mutual recognition, and proposing to open up more construction projects on the Mainland for participation by Hong Kong professional personnel. Being an elite member of the professional sectors, Mr TSE certainly understands the need of professional personnel, and if his suggestions can be adopted, they will surely make significant contributions to our professional services, which will be of great help to the development of a regional professional services hub. I hope the Government will seriously consider these suggestions.

Thank you, Deputy President.

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