As the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) commemorates its 10th anniversary this year, its global influence continues to expand, now encompassing 152 countries and constituting a staggering 75% of the world’s population and over 50% of the global GDP.
Hong Kong, a steadfast participant and contributor to the BRI, emerges as a pivotal hub for facilitating business between Middle East companies and China within the Belt and Road framework. Recognizing the BRI’s strategic vision, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Patrick Lau, underscores its meticulous planning and long-term objectives. Dr. Lau asserts that the initiative closely mirrors the developmental trajectories of Mainland China and Hong Kong, offering significant potential for collaborative ventures between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Hong Kong in sectors spanning business, trade, and infrastructure development.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE remain integral partners in the Belt and Road Initiative, with their relationships with Hong Kong continuing to strengthen. In a significant stride, the HKTDC orchestrated a delegation of leaders from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in February 2023. The delegation engaged in fruitful exchanges, resulting in the signing of 13 Memorandums of Understanding and Letters of Intent for Cooperation with local enterprises and organizations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, including the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.
In anticipation of the forthcoming Belt and Road Summit, slated for September 13-14, 2023, the event is set to embrace an in-person format this year. The summit’s scope is broadening to encompass the burgeoning opportunities emanating from the Middle East market, with two dedicated regional sessions planned. Dr. Lau extends an invitation to forward-thinking Middle Eastern enterprises, particularly those in innovation, technology, and finance, to actively participate in the summit, emphasizing its role as a conduit for seizing BRI-related prospects.
The previous year’s summit boasted a lineup of over 80 distinguished speakers and garnered the engagement of nearly 20,000 attendees from both onsite and online platforms, representing more than 80 countries and regions. The summit facilitated over 800 one-to-one business matching meetings, further accentuating its pivotal role in fostering international collaboration and business synergy.