Why Hong Kong?

We catch up with Jon Geldart, Chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Directors, and Executive Director Markets Development Greater China, to discover more about why Hong Kong, a place where 'West meets East', is such an important market for Leeds City Region businesses.

We catch up with Jon Geldart, Chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Directors, and Executive Director Markets Development Greater China, to discover more about why Hong Kong, a place where 'West meets East', is such an important market for Leeds City Region businesses.

Why is Hong Kong such an important market?

As a major financial centre for over 100 years, Hong Kong has stood the test of time, survived crashes and moved to be increasingly integrated into the Chinese mainstream of ‘one country two systems’ as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) within China.

It is its unique location that gave rise to Hong Kong’s original strength and its key position in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region as a focus for capital management. This means it remains a gateway to Mainland China markets and the whole of the ASEAN region

As a place from which to launch a business across the region its strengths are hard to beat. Its banking and capital market base, as well as the capabilities of its professional service teams, make Hong Kong a powerful point of physical and financial leverage.

Its high costs can put people off, but it nevertheless has an attractive cultural blend of the familiar and the exotic, giving the city a unique ‘West meets East’ feel.

What do you think the biggest opportunity is for Leeds City Region businesses in Hong Kong?

There is no doubt in my mind that the city’s unique status ‘just inside the door of China’ offers the region and it’s businesses a stepping stone from which to experience, test, access and grow into China.

From access to ambitious development investors with a ready access to capital, to an immediate market of over 100 million people in the rapidly expanding Pearl River Basin development zone of Guangdong Province, the city offers enormous potential for growth through thorough strategic planning and partnering.

Why do you think the GREAT Festival of Innovation is important and why is it important to showcase British innovation to the Chinese and ASEAN markets?

Britain has long been known in China as long on innovation, but short on capital to exploit its great ideas and to expand. There is something of a belief that Britain is losing its competitive edge with reducing productivity and a sluggish economy.

Now is a perfect time to shake off these perceptions and showcase the extraordinary skills, innovation and ingenuity we possess. The main drivers of the British economy are the vibrant middle market businesses and strong capital markets that support them.

It's not just about our global brands like Jaguar Landrover, BP. From craft brewing to nursery school provision, graphene technologies to high speed rail, Britain has some of the best, most skilled engineers, entrepreneurs and designers in the world.

If we can scale these ‘niche’ UK brands into the ASEAN markets, and specifically China, we will have a bright and prosperous future.

 

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