Message from the President
On behalf of all the members of the 42nd General Committee, I sincerely offer my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to everyone for your trust and support! I am honoured to have been elected the new president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong (CMA).
Being the leader of the major chamber of commerce in Hong Kong is not only an honour, but also a major responsibility and undertaking. In particular, Hong Kong has experienced some of the world's most challenging storms and hardships over the past three years. Even though Hong Kong businesspeople have experienced many challenges, they still resort to remarks on the "unseen before" to illustrate the magnitude and depth of the impacts.
The Sino-US trade dispute that broke out in 2018 has now turned into a political struggle as tensions between the two countries have escalated. The impact on Hong Kong companies has spread from the level of tariffs to affecting the world-famous "Made in Hong Kong" identity, which we have worked hard promoting for decades. Though the White House has changed hands and its attitude towards trade with China may be somewhat eased, it is not likely that we can expect a major reversal of the confrontation between the two major powers.
In addition to the above, COVID-19 spread across the globe in 2020. The global economy has suffered a great recession, both internal and foreign trade demands have shrunk and all industries have stagnated. For Hong Kong, the economy was already weakened by the impact of more than nine months of social turmoil, and it plunged into a downturn for another year.
Despite all of these difficulties, CMA continues to promote the development of the business community. In addition to urging the government to increase financial support for the industries affected by the pandemic, CMA has also adopted practical actions to sustain and offer assistance to its member companies. Since 2018, as society has been experiencing extreme instability with an intensely sluggish economy, CMA has insisted on organising the Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo, in order to create business opportunities for SMEs in dire straits.
In the face of adversity, it is really a last resort for companies to "persevere" and "withdraw", but they must always be prepared to take the initiative and seize opportunities when the economy starts to recover and gain momentum. The pandemic has not only affected the global economy, it has also changed people's behaviours and habits. As such, the use of technology in our daily lives has increased, which has become both a challenge and a business opportunity for all aspects of life. For years, Hong Kong's manufacturing industry has been striving to transform and upgrade, and many firms have already achieved remarkable results as their strength and competitiveness have improved. However, it is undeniable that, for various reasons, the upgrade process for some enterprises has been rather unsatisfactory. As such, CMA and CMA Testing have deployed more resources to assist traditional enterprises in accelerating the application of new technologies in product development, production processes and sales and marketing, so that they can turn around and succeed in this "technological revolution".
With the rise of protectionism and the impact of the pandemic, the adjustment of the global supply chain structure is accelerating, and Hong Kong's companies are being affected. Further, the dominant position of China in the global supply chain remains difficult to replace. Since China has a population of more than 1.4 billion and the world's largest middle-income class, with a population of 400 million, its market potential will undoubtedly help cushion the impact of the deterioration of the external environment on the overall economy. Hence, even as the pandemic endures, China has successfully achieved a recovery of its export business and domestic demand. With this in mind, China should continue to play the role of "stabiliser" within the global supply chain. CMA will lead the industry to explore and expand overseas markets, especially in ASEAN countries and those that are a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, and serve as the bridge to further strengthen the supply chain between Hong Kong and the Mainland, especially the interconnection within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Only in this way can Hong Kong fully make use of the synergistic effects between the world and Hong Kong and help to accelerate the local development of "reindustrialisation" and its related industries.
Against the background of internal and external challenges, the Central Government has launched a "dual circulation" economic development strategy to cope with the complex and volatile international political and economic situations. As the largest foreign investors in the Mainland, Hong Kong businesspeople will naturally have a unique role to play in the generation of internal circulation and economic growth. Given the many challenges at the geopolitical and macroeconomic levels, CMA will assist companies in grasping this historic opportunity to expand in the domestic market, including the transitioning of the traditional export trade model used in the past to the current retail model of e-commerce in the Mainland. In addition, CMA will work with the Hong Kong Brand Development Council to enhance the "Hong Kong Brand" on the Mainland and in other overseas markets. In this way, the well-cherished advantages of Hong Kong can flourish in the global market.
We are now striding into a new era. Whether it will prove difficult or extraordinary will depend on our understanding and mentality. The most important thing is our willingness to change. The 42nd General Committee has many new members, and given that some have already achieved significant success in their own careers, I firmly believe that new sparks will be ignited from both new and existing members, thus helping to bring forth new development ideas to CMA's mission and the industry.
Once again, I would like to offer my gratitude to the 41st president, Dr Dennis Ng, and the members of the General Committee for their guidance. Working from the solid foundation laid by them and their predecessors, I believe my work in the next three years will be conducted smoothly, and we will unite in our efforts to overcome future challenges and difficulties. Like all members of the new General Committee, I am committed to upholding the mission of the CMA to serve the industry and promote the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. We shall do our best to live up to these expectations as we move forward with determination, innovation and flexibility for a successful future.
Dr. Allen Shi Lop-tak BBS MH JP
42nd President of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong