HK firms eye bigger presence in markets of Chinese mainland and ASEAN countries
Published: Nov 28, 2020 06:09 PM

Visitors at a booth of Hong Kong cultural and creative products at the 17th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on Saturday. Photo:Zhang Dan/GT

In face of the coronavirus assault and pressure from the West, some Hong Kong firms now strive to deepen their tiess with the Chinese mainland market while also paying more attention to the emerging Southeast Asia's market.

A zone focusing on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) was established at the 17th China-ASEAN Expo held in Nanning, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, for the first time ever, showing the need for companies in the GBA to look at the ASEAN market and vice versa. 

"I hope the expo could help Hong Kong firms to learn about the business climate and investment rules in Southeast Asia which has economic complementarity with Hong Kong, as well as understand the current warming relationship between China and the ASEAN countries," Mandy Ng, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Regional Director, Southern China, told the Global Times on Saturday at the expo. 

She encouraged Hong Kong firms which enjoy an international vision and advantages in services and finance, to "go overseas together with Chinese mainland firms on the same boat."

For years, the ASEAN has become a vital trade partner for Hong Kong. It was Hong Kong's second-largest trading partner in 2019 after the Chinese mainland. According to Hong Kong's Trade and Industry Department, 16 percent of Hong Kong's total imports, around HK$707.1 billion ($91.23 billion), were sourced from ASEAN.

In the GBA display zone, a thermos exhibitor from Hong Kong displayed a variety of products, including a thermos which can play music if connected with Bluetooth. 

Focusing on the markets of Europe and the US in the past, UrbanEco now wants to enter the lucrative Chinese mainland market and ASEAN countries, Ivan Liu, director of the thermos company, told the Global Times. 

"We don't want to put all the eggs in one basket, because if their economy deteriorates, our performance will turn bad. That's why we are exploring a balance in the market layout," Liu noted. 

Being optimistic about the mainland market, Liu Xiaohong, finance manager at Ausupreme International Holdings, a listed Hong Kong company selling health care products and nourishment, said their business with Chinese mainland has not been hurt by the virus. "Even if the customs clearance of goods and personnel exchanges are suffering from restrictions amid the coronavirus, there is no impact on our online sales in the mainland and our business performance gets improved instead," Liu told the Global Times at the expo. 

As a frequent business traveler in the mainland, Liu hailed the digital-enabled convenience China. "In the past, some Hong Kong people had a sense of superiority when compared with the Chinese mainland, but now, I feel a sense of superiority of living and working in the mainland." she said, explaining a green digital health code can take her everywhere in the mainland.