香港在中国“走出去”中的作用 / Hong Kong’s Role as ‘China Goes Global’

香港在中国“走出去”中的作用

香港美国商会近日重启年度中国研讨会,此前该年会已停办数年。

此次活动于5月18日在香港的四季酒店举行,会议主题为“中国经济改革:十字路口,走回头路吗?”

这次会议举办得极为成功,除演讲者对听众的单向输出外,其真正的增值部分还在于演讲者、嘉宾及听众之间的坦诚对话。

评价一次商业会议是否成功,我最注重的是散会时能不能带走一些与我工作相关的新想法和新观点。如果会议对话有足够的说服力,以至于改变了我对某些事物的看法,那我打出的分数可能会更高。但其他人也许会认为搭建人脉比领会会议精神要重要得多。

这次,我给香港美国商会的中国研讨会打了高分,因为会议的内容、互动、时间、地点和安排都恰到好处。

组织者还为赞助机构设定了一个非常公平适合的角色,既对他们的支持表示认可,也没有分散会议的主题。在很多情况下,主办方会允许赞助企业进行推广展示,但结果往往事与愿违,白白葬送了演讲者和听众。

(透露一下:我是这次活动一个分论坛的主持人,也参与了活动的一小部分策划工作。这让我回忆起1993年参与组织香港美国商会首届中国研讨会的经历,那一年会议的主题是“大中华区的商机”。二十年前,“大中华区”还是个全新的商业词汇,很多跨国公司都在考虑是否需要围绕“大中华区”重组业务单元。在此之前,中国内地被视为独立的、个别的业务单元,与港澳台互动极少,甚至没有往来。)

美国商会这次中国研讨会的议程安排折射出过去二十年中国市场的万千变化,以及香港在中国改革开放进程中的角色转变。

香港交易所行政总裁李小加先生(见下图,他是首位任此要职的内地人士)在开幕主题演讲中对香港面临的机遇和挑战表示总体乐观。他呼吁香港进一步发展成为内地企业及个人的财富管理中心,不亚于“中国的瑞士”。他还强调香港必须更加认真地利用这一机遇,例如应完善税制,尤其是要改变仅仅充当交易中介的固有观念。

Hong Kong’s Role as ‘China Goes Global’

The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong recently re-launched their annual China conference, which had been dormant for some years.

Their re-launch event, “China’s Economic Reforms: Crossroads or Roundabout?”, was held on May 18 at Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel.

Highly successful conferences involve more than a one-way street of speeches delivered to attendees. Often the real value- added comes through frank dialogue: among speakers, panelists, and audience members.

I rate a business conference as a success if I walk away with some new ideas and insights relevant to my work. I offer even higher marks if the conversation was persuasive enough to change my mind about something. Other people may consider networking opportunities more important than content-related take-aways.

I would give the recent Amcham Hong Kong China event very high marks. Content, interactivity, timing, venue, and logistics were all right on target.

The organizers also struck a good balance in giving corporate sponsors an appropriate role and recognition, without diluting the core contents. Too often, organizers allow sponsoring companies to give promotional presentations, which is counter-productive. It can be the kiss of death for presenter and audience alike.

(Full disclosure: I was the moderator of a panel in this event and played a very small role in the event’s planning. I was reminded of my involvement in organizing Amcham Hong Kong’s first China conference in 1993, on the theme of “Greater China Business Opportunities”. The term “Greater China” was brand new to the business lexicon twenty years ago, and many MNCs were considering whether or not to re-organize around a “Greater China” business unit concept. Prior to that, the Chinese mainland was considered a separate and distinct business unit with little or no interplay with Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan business units.)

The program for this recent Amcham China conference reflected the continuing big changes in the China market, and in Hong Kong’s role in China’s open door and reform process, during these past 20 years.

Charles Li, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (the first mainlander to lead the Exchange — see photo below), spoke in the opening keynote of challenges and opportunities facing Hong Kong, in a generally optimistic tone. Li called for Hong Kong’s further development into a wealth management center for mainland companies and individuals, not unlike China’s Switzerland. He emphasized the need for Hong Kong to take this opportunity more seriously, for example, by amending tax laws, and especially by changing its traditional mindset of being a broker to one of being a deal-maker.

 香港交易所行政总裁李小加,感谢香港美国商会供图

通用电气公司全球增长及运营总裁兼首席执行官庄睿思在午餐会上发表了演讲。其实,通用电气自2011年起就在香港设立了这个新的副董事长级职位,负责推动全球增长,这本身就颇具时代象征意义。

The luncheon keynote was delivered by John Rice, Hong Kong-based Vice Chairman of General Electric, President and CEO of GE Global Growth and Operations. The fact that GE created a new Vice Chairman position based in Hong Kong in 2011, with responsibility for driving global growth, is in itself a very interesting sign of the times.

通用电气公司全球增长及运营总裁兼首席执行官庄睿思

通用电气目前在中国共有17,000名员工,合资公司28家。据庄睿思预测,通用电气在中国的合资公司数量5年内还将翻番。他将通用电气在中国的征途分为四个阶段:1)采购;2)销售;3)制造;以及4)当下与中国一流企业合资。

庄睿思在发言中也中和了一下自己过于乐观的表态,他说中国市场并不简单,通用电气和其他跨国公司一样,都担心未来对华直接投资的路径问题。他提到近期国家发改委及世界银行的报告再次肯定了未来政策的走向,使外国投资者对政策的落实寄予厚望。

香港美国商会主席孙晨(也是首位内地籍主席)谈到了香港作为对华直接投资催化剂和渠道的历史,也谈到了香港作为中资企业“走出去”踏脚石的地位。他表示商会为适应这一变化,已经相应调整了重心及工作内容。

由我主持的第一个分论坛题为“香港在十二五计划中的作用”。大家一致认为,凡有意向与中国合作的人都应认真研读这一计划,因为其中包含了很多突破性的新方向以及给香港带来的影响。几位嘉宾指出医疗及养老产业尤具增长潜力。

后来,大会还提供了三个分组讨论供代表们选择参与,其中一个分组讨论——“中资企业走出去”——还被设置为普通话专场,这和往届中国研讨会的做法大为不同。这场别开生面的讨论会座无虚席。

讨论中出现的一个观点是,尽管大型国企领导对香港作为“走出去”中转站可提供的帮助了如指掌,但很多非国企负责人对香港潜在的优势,例如司法体制等还知之甚少。

总之,通过28名演讲人及嘉宾的表述可以看出,香港面临着重重挑战,但总的来说前景一片光明,特别是在中国“走出去”方面。

GE currently has 17,000 employees in China, and 28 joint ventures, a number Rice forecasts will double within the next five years. He described the stages of GE’s journey in China as 1) sourcing; 2) selling; 3) manufacturing; and, now 4) joint venturing with national champion Chinese companies.

Rice tempered his upbeat comments with the admission that China is not an easy market, and that GE was among many MNCs concerned about the future path of FDI in China. He mentioned the recent NDRC-World Bank Report as a positive reaffirmation of future policy directions which leading foreign investors hope to see realized.

Amcham Hong Kong Chairman James Sun (also the first mainlander to lead Amcham Hong Kong) spoke of Hong Kong’s historical role as catalyst and conduit for FDI into China, and its rapidly growing role as a staging point for Chinese companies going global. He said the Chamber has shifted its focus and activities accordingly.

The first panel, which I moderated, was on “Hong Kong’s Role in the 12th 5 Year Plan”. The consensus was that this is a plan anyone doing business with China should study very carefully, because it contains many ground-breaking new directions as well as implications for Hong Kong. Several panelists highlighted the growth potential of the health care and senior care sectors in particular.

Following that, delegates were offered the choice of three break-out panels to attend. In a departure from practice at past Amcham Hong Kong China conferences, one of these — “Chinese Companies Going Global ” — was in Putonghua only. There wasn’t an empty seat in the room for this very lively discussion.

One view which emerged was that while the heads of China’s big SOEs are generally well informed about what Hong Kong has to offer as a staging point for going global, many non-SOE business leaders still have much to learn about Hong Kong’s potential advantages, benefits of its legal system, etc.

Overall, judging by the comments of 28 speakers and panelists at this event, Hong Kong faces plenty of challenges, but on balance, the outlook looks very bright indeed, especially insofar as ‘China Goes Global’ is concerned.


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