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The first Invest Japan Symposium in Hong Kong
Calling for expansion of investment from Hong Kong into Japan

July 2015

On July 31, JETRO co-organized an “Invest Japan Symposium” in Hong Kong together with the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC). In the first such symposium held by JETRO in this region, speakers called for investment into Japan from the podium, including HKGCC CEO Shirley Yuen, JETRO President Satoshi Miyamoto, Vice Governor of Hokkaido Yasuhiro Tsuji and senior executives of leading companies in Hong Kong. With a total of 151 people attending not only from domestic companies but also Western firms located in this region, this event offered an opportunity to widely disseminate the advantages and benefits of business in Japan.

Growing allures of Japan as investment destination

In his keynote speech, JETRO President Miyamoto stated that Abenomics has brought a positive economic cycle and the regulatory and structural reforms being pursued in the “Growth Strategy” have created new markets. Highlighting allures of Japan represented by “the sophisticated consumer market”, “initiatives by a front-runner country in addressing common challenges” and “advanced living-related infrastructure”, he urged immediate investment into Japan and asked for interested Hong Kong companies to consult with JETRO. Representing a local government in Japan, Vice Governor of Hokkaido Tsuji advertised advantages of his prefecture as an investment destination, such as low risk of natural disasters, stable energy supply and developed infrastructure for transportation and communications, in addition to tourism resources such as the grandeur of nature and local food.

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Promoting Japanese companies as business partners

From the Hong Kong side, Group Director Christobelle Liao of the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels made a keynote speech. Citing the example of the Peninsula Tokyo, a high-class hotel opened in July 2007, she expressed appreciation for the great cooperation from the Japanese partner company at the time of its establishment. She also mentioned “fusion with Japanese society” as a key to business in this country and recounted an episode in which her company offered the hotel as a shelter after the Great East Japan Earthquake to provide approximately 3,000 people with accommodation and meals.

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Introducing examples of companies having entered Japan

Examples of Hong Kong companies having entered Japan were also introduced. Chairman James E. Thompson of Crown Worldwide Group shared his company’s experience of business in Japan for over 50 years since its foundation in Yokohama. He described modern Japan by emphasizing that the country is “not a high-price country any more but rather a dynamic society and market”. Chief Operating Officer Ben Wong of Hong Kong Airlines explained how the company has expanded destination cities to Sapporo, Miyazaki and Kagoshima in response to growth of the tourism market since the inauguration of flight services to Okinawa in 2010, which was its first airline service to Japan. He also mentioned “steady demand”, “support from local governments” and “differentiation strategy” as keys to successful business in Japan, with a particular emphasis on the importance of local governments that provide relevant information and matching opportunities.

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Lively view exchange about potential investment into Japan

In the panel session moderated by Managing Director Leland L. Sun of Pan Asian Mortgage, panelists from three companies exchanged views regarding potential investment into Japan. Each of them gave comments about the high quality of their Japanese partners and workforce. At the reception following the seminar, lively information interchange was made by speakers from local governments and Hong Kong companies with attendees, offering an opportunity to explore the business potential in Japan.

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Outline
Title Invest Japan Symposium 2015 in Hong Kong
Date July 31, 2015
Organizer Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC)
No. of participants 151 (including local firms, organizations and press)
Program
Symposium
Welcome remarks Shirley Yuen, CEO, HKGCC
Keynote speech Satoshi Miyamoto, President, JETRO
Keynote speech Christobelle Liao, Group Director, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels
Presentation Yasuhiro Tsuji, Vice Governor of Hokkaido
Company sharing 1) James E. Thompson, Chairman, Crown Worldwide Group
2) Ben Wong, Chief Operating Officer, Hong Kong Airlines
Panel discussion Moderator: Leland L Sun, Managing Director, Pan Asian Mortgage Co., Ltd.
Speakers
1) Christobelle Liao
2) James E. Thompson
3) Ben Wong
-Closing remarks: Hiroshi Onomura, Director General, JETRO Hong Kong
Networking reception
Remarks Hitoshi Noda, Consul-General of Japan in Hong Kong
Remarks Jonathan Choi, Chairman, HK-JBCC
Remarks Andrew Wells, Chairman, Asia& Africa Committee of HKGCC