Territory China’s ‘Belt and Road’ exchange design ‘invites both of all shapes and size

Summit on the scheme expected to draw more than 2,500 people from different countries

The Belt and Road Summit, jointly organised by the local government and the Trade Development Council, is expected to attract more than 2,500 participants next Monday, bringing together senior government ministers, industry leaders and investors from different countries.

This year’s summit will focus on infrastructure investment and act as a platform for more concrete cooperation and opportunities, council chairman Vincent Lo Hong-sui said.

“No matter how big the investment projects are – even those up to tens of billions of dollars – [these projects] will need the participation of small companies. The big corporations can’t do it all,” Lo said.

Several infrastructure projects have already been set in motion under the initiative since it was launched in Beijing in 2013. The strategy involves nurturing trade routes across Asia, Africa and Europe, connecting more than 60 countries.

The big corporations can’t do it all

The summit will also host a number of project presentations and meetings to match business partners, featuring more than 130 investment projects. It is expected to attract more than 500 project owners.

Investors will be matched with project owners, while participants will be able to network with other country representatives.

The council earlier announced that local companies would form a consortium to help individual firms as well as small and medium-sized enterprises enter developing markets as a collective force. The goal is to build infrastructure for projects in Thailand and Vietnam.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah agreed with Lo that large investments did not necessarily mean only big corporations could participate.

“It’s not a matter of numbers, but how professional and internationalised these companies are. Many Hong Kong companies have a competitive advantage given their professional expertise and they are familiar with operating in line with international standards,” Yau said on Monday.

A Hong Kong-based architectural consultancy, Ho and Partners Architects, Engineers and Development Consultants (HPA), is one of the smaller firms that had capitalised on the “Belt and Road” strategy by partnering with a Malaysian firm.

Nicholas Ho, HPA’s deputy managing director, said their company of about 100 staff had started projects in Singapore and Myanmar within four months of merging with the Malaysian design consultancy. They plan to expand to four more cities this year.

“The ‘Belt and Road’ pie is just too big; everyone wants to find more business partners for a piece of it,” Ho said.

Meanwhile, the new Trade and Industry Advisory Board, which advises the government on trade and industry matters, had its first meeting on Monday.

The board comprising 36 members expanded to include the Textiles Advisory Board as well as more business chamber and professional service representatives.

Yau said he hoped the board “with its widened scope and membership” would be “the best platform for the government to consult various stakeholders in the industry”

Alibaba officials meet with TCS & Yayvo officials in Karachi

Ever since Anusha Rahman, Minister of Information Technology announced that Alibaba will soon be launching in Pakistan along with payment gateway, AliPay. Every news regarding Alibaba is considered a step closer to the launch of Alibaba e-commerce conglomerate in Pakistan. The most recent development on this end has been the meeting between TCS/Yayvo and Ali Baba officials in Karachi.

Although, TCS and Yayvo have kept most of the meeting details a secret. There is a strong speculation that this will be a start of a long-term collaboration between TCS and Alibaba on the logistics end. During the meeting, Alibaba officials visited the warehouse facilities of TCS to see the infrastructure and processes. The team also visited the Yayvo head office in Karachi and discussed the current and upcoming e-commerce trends in the country.

The technology insiders are calling it an important meeting. The rumor mill has been strong around Alibaba in the country, where leaks regarding the acquisition of local e-commerce stores and local payment solutions are coming up every now and then. But, there has been no official word from any of the involved parties.

For any e-commerce platform to be successful, it should have a strong technology platform, secure and flawless payment mechanism and streamlined logistics. For these, either Alibaba will come with its own solutions or partner up with already established solutions in Pakistan.