Overwhelming interest among global financial leaders to attend 16th Asian Financial Forum
The 16th Asian Financial Forum (AFF), organised by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), will once again be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) on 11 and 12 January to bring together global financial leaders in person. The event will also be accessible virtually. The first large-scale business exchange event of 2023 comes on the heels of the reopening of the Hong Kong-Mainland China border and the resumption of quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and the mainland since the start of the pandemic.
The HKTDC is organising a series of travel experiences, food and accommodation discounts and other opportunities for overseas guests to make the most of their stay in Hong Kong during the AFF and International Financial Week and enjoy the vibrancy of Asia’s World City.
With this year’s theme being Accelerating Transformation: Impact ∙ Inclusion ∙ Innovation, AFF will examine the current state of the global economy and explore major issues, such as trade and sustainable development across more than 40 panel discussions and workshops. Given the interest in hot-button social issues related to international finance and topics such as climate change, health policy, energy and environmental protection, food and agriculture – in addition to the emergence of new economic models from rapid fintech developments like Web 3 and the Metaverse – , this year’s Forum will launch the Global Spectrum series, while continuing to organise Fireside Chats , to help participants stay current on a wider scope of matters affecting the latest global situation.
17 business delegations, with more than 200 representatives, will attend AFF in person, including from Mainland China, Australia, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. These also include delegations led by the World Federation of International Financial Centers, Beijing Financial Bureau, Tianjin Commission of Commerce, Shenzhen Financial Bureau, Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce in Thailand, Riyadh Chamber of Commerce, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and other organisations. More international business representatives are expected to confirm their in-person participation at the Forum in the coming days.
Mary Huen, Chairperson of the AFF Steering Committee and Cluster CEO, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, at Standard Chartered, said: “For Hong Kong, 2023 will be a year of recovery and the return to normalcy. The imminent and orderly resumption of travel with the Mainland will help stimulate our economy, improve market sentiment, and consolidate Hong Kong’s role as a super connector - bridging the Mainland and the international market. We are glad that this year’s Asian Financial Forum will see global leaders gathering here physically to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the financial industry, reinforcing Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre.”
Dr Patrick Lau, the HKTDC’s Deputy Executive Director said: “ Firstly, given last year’s volatile financial markets and fragile economy globally, transformation is key, as the world in 2023 needs new insights, solutions and opportunities, which the more than 100 global political and business leaders, financial experts, investors, entrepreneurs, tech giants and economists we engaged as our speakers will share with our distinguished AFF participants. Secondly, with the resumption of quarantine-free travel between the mainland and Hong Kong and the lifting of international travel restrictions in Hong Kong, we are pleased to see huge interest to join AFF, including attending in-person in Hong Kong. We believe that the AFF platform enables all participants to have closer interactions and create more business opportunities. Another big attraction is, of course, that the participants will introduce their projects at AFF to secure partners or investors. AFF will attract global financial leaders and professionals to participate in person as well as online, and will once again showcase Hong Kong as a vibrant international business centre.”
Comprehensive analysis of the latest social and financial situationThis year’s forum gathers financial experts from all over the world. Three keynote speakers, Ban Ki-moon, eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations; Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand; and Christina Figueres, co-founder of Global Optimism and former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will share their insights on topics, such as multilateral cooperation for sustainable development, diversification and integration, climate action and net zero emissions.
Other distinguished guest speakers include Valérie Baudson, Chief Executive Officer of Amundi; Gu Shu, Chairman of the Agricultural Bank of China; Takeshi Kunibe, Chairman of the Board of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation; Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners; Dr Ridha Wirakusumah, Chief Executive Officer of the Indonesia Investment Authority; Mark Tucker, Group Chairman of HSBC; Dr José Viñals, Group Chairman of Standard Chartered; and Liu Jin, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors and President, Bank of China. Their insights will offer an in-depth look at the state of play of global finance, opportunities in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area markets, asset and wealth management, ESG and green finance, , family office ecosystems, impact investing, inclusive finance and more.
Norman Chan, Chairman of RD Wallet Technologies, will have a dialogue with Charles Li, Founder and Chairman of Micro Connect on creating an inclusive capital market; Jeremy Coller, Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Coller Capital, will share his views on ESG in private equity investment; Evan Auyang, Group President of Animoca Brands, Dr Giovanna Graziosi Casimiro, Head of Metaverse Fashion Week of Decentraland and Sebastian Fahey, EVP, Managing Director, EMEA and Executive Lead, Metaverse of Sotheby's, will look at NFTs and digital collectable trends.
AFF Deal Flow Matchmaking Session extended to showcase fintech solutions
The popular AFF Deal Flow Matchmaking Session, jointly organised by the HKTDC and the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, will provide investment matching services in hybrid format. The first two days of matchmaking meetings (11 and 12 January) will allow participants to meet at the physical Forum venue and will continue online until 17 January, offering investors and project owners a prolonged period to connect and explore collaboration opportunities. The investment projects covered will span diverse sectors, such as deep tech, digital technology and media, healthtech, education, infrastructure and real estate services, with an eye towards facilitating connections between investors and project managers. More than 600 Deal Flow matchmaking meetings are expected to be held.
There will also be featured exhibition zones – both physical and online. These are Fintech Showcase, the InnoVenture Salon, FintechHK Startup Salon and the Global Investment Zone, which will showcase various innovative technologies. More than 120 local and international financial institutions, tech companies, start-ups, investment agencies and sponsors – including PwC, Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of China, HSBC, UBS, China International Capital Corporation, Huatai International, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, as well as Cyberport – will gather at the Forum to showcase technologies of tomorrow and global investment opportunities.
Travel experiences, food and accommodation discounts, and more for overseas participants
To encourage overseas AFF delegates to make the most of their stay and experience the vitality of Hong Kong outside the Forum, the HKTDC has for the first time partnered with the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Klook, the Lan Kwai Fong Group and hotels to offer travel experiences, food and accommodation discounts, coupled with other special offers to showcase Hong Kong as a popular tourist, conference and exhibitions destination. As the HKSAR Government announced the resumption of quarantine-free travel between the Mainland and Hong Kong in a gradual and orderly manner last month, the HKTDC extends the special offer for an admission pass to 8 January, on top of the Convention and Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme, in the hope of driving more participation.