11th Asian Financial Forum Opens in Mid-January

(From L) Denis Tse, Research Committee Chairman of the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association and Managing Principal of Asia-IO Advisors Ltd; Stephen Liang, Assistant Executive Director of the HKTDC; Diana Cesar, Chairperson of the AFF Steering Committee; James Chang, Financial Services Consulting Leader of PwC China; and, Lee George Lam, Chairman of Cyberport Hong Kong

The 11th Asian Financial Forum (AFF), co-organised by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), will be held on 15-16 January at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). More than a hundred international speakers, including financial policymakers, business leaders and heavyweight investors, will gather in Hong Kong to examine the latest economic trends and to offer their insights for investment planning in the coming year. Innovation and technology will be a prioritised component at this year’s forum, to address the latest development models of the new economy. Experts will forecast the impact brought about by technology, giving AFF participants a headstart in identifying new economic opportunities.

Diana Cesar, Chairperson of the AFF Steering Committee and; Group General Manager and Chief Executive, Hong Kong, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd, said: “Around the world, economies are looking for a new growth engine and companies are developing new digitally-led, business models. Innovation is the key to accelerating growth and driving returns for companies and investors in China, Asia and globally. Because of its central importance to markets and economies today and in the future, the 2018 AFF will focus on innovation.”

Steering Growth and Pioneering Innovation: Asia and Beyond

Under the theme “Steering Growth and Pioneering Innovation: Asia and Beyond,” this year’s AFF will open with David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Igor Shuvalov, First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, delivering keynote addresses on the Asia’s Economic Outlook 2018. At plenary sessions, James Lau, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of The Government of the HKSAR, will be joined by Jiang Yang, Vice Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission; Takehiko Nakao, President of the Asian Development Bank; Pierre Gramegna, Finance Minister of Luxembourg; and Kelly O’Dwyer, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services of Australia, to discuss how Asia can leverage innovation to maintain growth and drive the global economy.

At this year’s Policy Dialogue on “Impact of China Policies on Global Economic Development,” speakers will share their views on China’s economic and financial policies, including China’s exchange rate and monetary policies, industrial development initiative, as well as the Belt and Road Initiative, and how they impact the global economy and the financial markets. The session will be chaired by Norman Chan, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, who will discuss with Andreas Dombret, Member of the Executive Board of Deutsche Bundesbank; Stuart Gulliver, Group Chief Executive of HSBC Holdings plc; Hu Huaibang, Chairman of the China Development Bank; Jin Liqun, President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; and David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF.

Other discussion sessions examining such topics as the global economy, China opportunities and financial regulations, will welcome speakers including Set Aung, Deputy Minister of Planning and Finance of Myanmar; Inga Beale, CEO of Lloyd’s; Fang Fenglei, founder and Chairman of Hopu Investment Management Co; Fu Yuning, Chairman of the China Resources Group; Steven Maijoor, Chairman of the European Securities and Market Authority; and Neil Shen, Founding and Managing Partner of Sequoia China.

At the keynote luncheon on the first day, former US Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J Lew will offer insights on the global and US economic outlook, and touch on issues related to his term as Treasury chief, including the debt ceiling, trade sanctions and regulatory policies. Mr Lew will also talk about the significance of the recently passed US tax reform legislation.

InnoTalks – Forward-looking discussions

Stephen Liang, Assistant Executive Director of the HKTDC, said: “We aim for the AFF to not only examine the latest economic developments, but to identify future economic and business models that are predicated upon technological development. We have invited many technology experts to discuss a variety of subjects pertinent to the financial and business sectors.” On the second day of the AFF, the new InnoTalks series will tackle Fintech, innovations in banking, big data, digital identity and regulatory technology, otherwise known as Regtech. At the keynote luncheon, Professor Daniela Rus, Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; will speak about the latest developments in artificial intelligence and robotics.

To help industry practitioners and decision-makers keep pace with and capture opportunities presented by rapid developments in technology, Christine Tsai, Founding Partner and CEO of 500 Startups, will hold a Fireside Chat session on technology and entrepreneurship. The HKTDC and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will co-organise a workshop to examine how technological developments will influence future labour demands and foster a new generation of entrepreneurs to maintain sustainable economic growth. Speakers include Nicolas Aguzin, Asia Pacific Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co; Pacita U Juan, Chairwoman of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network and President of ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle; and Wong Kong-Kat, co-founder and Vice President of Xiaomi Technology.

In addition, JP Nicols, Managing Director of FinTech Forge and Chairman of NextMoney.org, who is widely regarded as one of the most influential opinion leaders in FinTech, will share his experience helping financial institutions build and strengthen their ability to innovate, as well as discuss how financial enterprises can leverage innovation to succeed in the global market.

AFF Deal Flow: Fostering cooperation, supporting start-ups

Over the years, AFF has also served as a platform for investors and project owners to explore cooperation. This year’s Forum will once again co-organise the AFF Deal Flow Matchmaking Session with the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association to provide pre-arranged deal-sourcing and matchmaking meetings for project owners and investors. The investment projects will cover digital technology, Fintech, environment and energy, healthcare technology and infrastructure and real estate services.

To leverage the AFF platform for start-ups, the new InnoVenture Salon will debut this year to connect start-ups with potential investors and partners. The programme will include a Start-up Showcase, Investors Meet-up, Start-up Project Presentations, as well as Mentor Hours on setting-up, fundraising, business-scaling and pitching. Participating investors and mentors include representatives from the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, Beyond Ventures, Cocoon Ignite Ventures, Hong Kong X-Tech Startup, MindWorks Ventures, Nest Ventures, VC Growth Partners and Vectr Ventures.


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