‘Too much talk, not enough action’ by Hong Kong SMEs hoping to cash in on Belt and Road, says veteran NPC member

by Li Tao / March 12, 2017 / SCMP

There has been too much talk and not enough action yet by Hong Kong entrepreneurs to explore concrete economic opportunities from China’s flagship “One Belt, One Road” economic initiative, according to a veteran Hong Kong member of the National People’s Congress (NPC).

Peter Wong Man-kong told South China Morning Post the central government’s trade initiative to link economies into a China-centred trading network needed more field studies by firms carried out, to explore business opportunities rather than just “waiting at home or attending some forums” on the initiative.

While various infrastructure construction projects, such as railways and ports, are being built between different Belt and Road economies, the business sector – especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – are not doing enough, particularly those operating in niche markets, said Wong.

“Emerging economies should always provide huge motivation for SMEs,” Wong said in Beijing on Friday.

He added Hong Kong companies and mainland firms from southern China had been the ones to earn the first pots of gold, during the early stages of China’s reform and opening up process, in the 1980s.

Now, since most of the countries along the Belt and Road routes are emerging economies, it offers another great opportunity for those same kinds of companies to rekindle that entrepreneurial spirit, he said.

The Belt and Road was first introduced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, and covers more than 60 countries and economies including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Thailand and Malaysia, and focuses on connectivity and cooperation among these countries.

However, despite many mainland cities trying to organise relevant activities to promote the initiative, most have been working by themselves, resulting in often-redundant investment and wasted resources, he said.

In Hong Kong, participation to the project is even more “superficial”, and that organising forums to discuss the initiative had led to a generation of “armchair strategists”, rather than genuine business pioneers of the future, said Wong.  Read more..

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