Hong Kong welcomes the Year of the Dog in London (with photos)

     The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London (London ETO), greeted the Year of the Dog in the United Kingdom by hosting a Chinese New Year reception in London on February 21 (London time) and participating in the large-scale London Chinatown Chinese New Year celebration in Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and Charing Cross Road on February 18.

     The Director-General of the London ETO, Ms Priscilla To, welcomed more than 500 guests at the Chinese New Year reception on February 21 at the Banqueting House, Whitehall in London. Amongst the guests were United Kingdom government officials, parliamentarians, the Lord Mayor of the City of Westminster, mayors from various London Boroughs, senior diplomats, leading figures in the business world, academics, media representatives and members of the Hong Kong community.

     Speaking at the reception, Ms To highlighted Hong Kong's many advantages and opportunities, and its openness to trade. She outlined Hong Kong's unique strengths under "one country, two systems", with its key fundamentals including the rule of law, judicial independence, free flow of capital and information and freedom of speech and expression, all protected and guaranteed under the Basic Law of Hong Kong.

     She said, "With our position as the world's largest offshore RMB centre, a leading market for initial public offerings and a premier centre for asset management and risk management, we have much to offer to assist Chinese companies to go global, to serve as a financing platform for Belt and Road projects and to help technology companies in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area to raise capital and attract investment for further growth."

     She also introduced the measures aiming to develop Hong Kong as a global innovation and technology hub. She said, "We will allocate more funding to universities to conduct research, introduce tax deduction for expenditure incurred by private enterprises on research & development, and co-invest with private venture capital into our start-ups."

     Ms To welcomed Hong Kong's continuing and growing relationship with the UK. "As the UK is deepening its trade ties with new markets on leaving the EU, we welcome more UK exporters to partner with Hong Kong during their journey in Asia. In this, we have already launched a Strategic Dialogue on Trade Partnership with the UK government to examine the existing trade environment of both markets and identify priority areas for future collaboration."

     She also mentioned ongoing co-operation with the UK in the field of fintech. Following the fintech bridge agreement signed with the UK government last September, Invest Hong Kong will organise the first UK Fintech Awards in partnership with the UK's Department for International Trade. She highlighted that Hong Kong will soon welcome the UK Great Festival of Innovations which will enable UK companies to showcase their innovations in Asian markets using Hong Kong as a platform. 

     The reception featured a lion dance as well as a performance by Hong Kong musical group, Artemisia, who played a variety of classical and contemporary Chinese and Hong Kong pieces, several inspired by the cultural history of the ancient Silk Roads which linked East and West.

     On February 18, the London ETO took part in the large-scale annual London Chinatown Chinese New Year celebration, which was attended by hundreds of thousands of people. The London ETO ran its own marquee in Trafalgar Square to promote Hong Kong, with thousands of visitors coming by to learn about Hong Kong's culture and to enjoy traditional Hong Kong games. The London ETO also sponsored a special stage in Charing Cross Road which featured performers with a connection to Hong Kong, and where Ms To greeted the audience and conveyed Chinese New Year wishes to them. With the support of the London ETO, Artemisia performed both on the main stage in Trafalgar Square and on the Charing Cross Road stage.

     The London ETO will organise further Chinese New Year events in St Petersburg (February 26) and Moscow (February 27).

Ends/Friday, February 23, 2018
Issued at HKT 21:35