Financial Secretary Paul Chan yesterday arrived in Davos, Switzerland yesterday for the start of the five-day World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting.

Accompanied by Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau, Mr Chan spoke to political and business leaders about Hong Kong’s latest developments and promoted its advantages and opportunities.

Mr Chan met Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan to discuss the prospects of deepening financial cooperation between Hong Kong and the Middle East.

Mr Chan highlighted that since he visited to the Middle East two years ago, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia have achieved notable progress on financial co-operation. He said this included the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s addition of the Saudi Exchange as a recognised Stock Exchange last year, the listing in Hong Kong of the Asia-Pacific region’s first Saudi Arabian exchange-traded fund, and the city’s hosting of the inaugural PRIORITY Asia Summit by the Future Investment Initiative.

The Financial Secretary stressed that Hong Kong, with its unique advantages under the “one country, two systems” arrangement, serves as an international financial centre connecting the Mainland and the world.

Besides welcoming Saudi Arabian capital and enterprises in using Hong Kong as a platform to expand into the Mainland and other Asian markets, Mr Chan added that he looked forward to further two-way financial and business co-operation with Saudi Arabia.

Mr Chan also met with Vice President of Nigeria Kashim Shettima and exchanged views on issues such as global economic development.

In addition, he met with representatives from a company engaged in artificial intelligence (AI) and another that is the issuer of the world’s second largest stablecoin.

The Financial Secretary stressed that the market’s response has been positive since the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government announced its Policy Statement on the Development of Virtual Assets in Hong Kong in 2022, adding that many digital asset and third-generation Internet companies have settled in Hong Kong.

He stressed that Hong Kong is pressing ahead with developing digital assets in a prudent and orderly manner, and that it is consulting the public on the regulation of stablecoins with a view to setting an appropriate regulatory framework and promoting the industry’s responsible and sustainable development.

He said he welcomed fiat-based stablecoin companies to establish a presence in Hong Kong to provide the community with more innovative and convenient financial services.

Mr Chan also met the founder of an Israeli AI unicorn. He explained that Hong Kong has strong scientific research abilities, and has committed substantial resources to developing AI as an industry, including establishing an AI Supercomputing Centre and promoting orderly cross-boundary data flows.

Mr Chan invited relevant companies to make use of Hong Kong as a platform to expand into Asian markets.

In the evening, Mr Chan attended a welcome reception hosted by the WEF.


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