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Speech by CE at opening ceremony of MIPIM Asia 2012 (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the opening ceremony of MIPIM Asia 2012 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this morning (November 7):

Mr Zilk, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. I am very pleased to join you for MIPIM Asia. First of all, I would like to extend my very warm welcome to all participants, especially those who travelled a long way to Hong Kong to showcase their real estate products or related expertise and services.

     I know most of you have joined MIPIM Asia in Hong Kong to reach out to potential buyers, investors and clients beyond this city.

     Hong Kong is indeed very well placed as a regional hub for potential business partners to meet and greet. We owe our strengths to our central location in the Asia-Pacific region. But this is too obvious a statement. Let me continue.

     Hong Kong has many international business partners of long standing. We indeed treasure the relationships. We will build on solid foundations of these amicable and mutually beneficial international networks. We will maintain a very open border and more importantly open mindset and government policies towards international collaboration.

     At last count, there were over 7,000 overseas and Mainland Chinese companies operating in Hong Kong. The number of non-local companies with a base here has increased by 62 per cent since 2001. The number of regional headquarters has increased by 45 per cent over the same period.

     With our international business partners, we will share opportunities that are available to us. I have made this pledge to the many foreign business chambers in Hong Kong.

     This brings me to another, possibly the single most important, strength of Hong Kong as an international business hub: China.

     The moment you arrive in Hong Kong, you are not only in a city with an audience of 7 million people. You are in the Chinese city that connects to another 660 in the country.

     Hong Kong is the best connector to other Chinese cities in terms not only of infrastructure, not only of language, not only of culture, but also of human connections, market intelligence and information.

     When it comes to real estate and many other business sectors, Hong Kong is the two-way Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) of China.

     Nearly all the major real estate and other related professional practices on the Chinese Mainland are branches or subsidiaries of Hong Kong firms. Hong Kong also accounts for nearly all the large overseas real estate developers in Mainland China. Together we possess a huge wealth of information and knowledge on the Chinese markets.

     More recently these Hong Kong firms are guiding Mainland investors in their exploration of overseas opportunities.

     We, in Hong Kong, will maintain a strong interest in our international connections. But my government will be proactive in assisting Hong Kong firms in the Mainland as well. We will make the best use of the privileges that the Central Government gives Hong Kong under the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement - CEPA, which now covers 48 services sectors. We will give the external economy of Hong Kong in the Mainland all the attention that it needs.

     Ladies and gentlemen, the CIO and CKO of China by the name of Hong Kong welcomes you all. We know the importance of knowledge and information. We therefore know the value of events such as MIPIM Asia in Hong Kong.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Issued at HKT 11:55


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