Hong Kong is emerging as a pivotal link between China and the Middle East, leveraging its robust capital market and the government's steadfast focus on technology and innovation to propel the world towards a sustainable future. The assertions were made by speakers at the Future Investment Initiative's (FII) inaugural Asia conference, which brought together over 1,000 policymakers, business leaders, and investors in Hong Kong. Themed "Megatrends Shaping Humanity," the two-day event delved into critical discussions on artificial intelligence (AI) ethics, advanced technology, and the future of sustainability.
Richard Attias, CEO of the Future Investment Initiative Institute, emphasized the need to build collaborative systems for innovation that transcend boundaries, advocating for solutions that benefit not only individual businesses but society as a whole. "That will lead us to a future where business success and social progress go [hand in hand]," Attias stated in his opening remarks.
The conference, held in partnership with Hong Kong's government and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX), reflects the evolving alliance between Saudi Arabia and China, poised to have a substantial impact on global transformation. Building on conversations from the FII summit in Riyadh in October, the discussions at the conference focused on unlocking ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) flows, global alignment on AI regulation, and investment strategies for more equitable access to education and healthcare.
Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), highlighted Hong Kong's status as an international trade and innovation hub, making it an ideal host for the conference. The PIF, managing assets totaling $700 billion, announced plans to open new offices in mainland China and India, further expanding its global footprint.
Hong Kong's Chief Executive, John Lee Ka-chiu, announced a significant initiative for the city—a dedicated AI supercomputing center set to launch next year. The facility aims to boost the innovation and technology sector, addressing the growing demand for computing power in research and development. AI, robotics, and healthcare will be the primary focus areas for the city.
Yasir Al-Rumayyan emphasized the urgent need for substantial investment—hundreds of trillions of dollars—in the coming decades to facilitate the transition to a sustainable future. A substantial portion of this investment, estimated between $100 trillion to $300 trillion, is earmarked for the green transition by 2050, as reported by Barclays.
Laura Cha Shih May-lung, Chairwoman of HKEX, underscored Hong Kong's role as a facilitator for Middle East nations and companies to raise funds for technology development, particularly in renewable energy and sustainability projects.
Richard Li Tzar-kai, Chairman of PCCW and founder of FWD, emphasized the transformative potential of digitalization. AI and digital technologies enable the customization of insurance and financial products for diverse societal segments. Li cited examples, such as the development of sharia-compliant products in Indonesia, illustrating the inclusivity facilitated by digitalization.
The conference featured prominent participants, including Ronnie Chan, founder of Hang Lung Capital; Kevin Sneader, Asia-Pacific President of Goldman Sachs; Fang Fenglei, founder and chairman of Hopu Investment Management; and Neil Shen, founder and managing partner of HongShan (formerly Sequoia China). The gathering showcased the dynamic landscape of collaboration, innovation, and investment shaping the future trajectory of global economies.
By fLEXI tEAM