Heads of int’l banks, business elites and SCMP chief join gov’t task force to promote Hong Kong reopening

Banking chiefs, tycoons, entrepreneurs and the South China Morning Post’s editor-in-chief have joined a government task force to promote Hong Kong after years of Covid isolation.

Standard Chartered’s Peter Burnett, the Asia Society’s Ronnie Chan, SCMP top editor Tammy Tam and HSBC Asia-Pacific Co-CEO David Liao.

The task force, led by Financial Secretary Paul Chan, “will advise the Government on the overall strategy of promoting Hong Kong’s advantages, and a series of promotional plans and activities overseas and in the Mainland,” according to a Saturday government press release.

Government officials make up the official membership, along with 14 local partner organisations – mostly statutory bodies – and 22 unofficial members.

Among the unofficial membership are HSBC advisor Samir Assaf and the British banking group’s Asia-Pacific Co-Chief Executive David Liao. Senior Counsel of the Hong Kong Bar Winnie Tam, Lan Kwai Fong tycoon Allan Zemen, film director Mabel Cheung, President of the German Chamber of Commerce and managing director of the local branch of DZ Bank AG Johannes Hack and the South China Morning Post’s Editor-in-Chief Tammy Tam are also members. As is property developer Ronnie Chan, Standard Chartered managing director Peter Burnett, media mogul Li Ruigang, architect Steve Leung and tycoon Adrian Cheng.

Task Force on Promoting and Branding Hong Kong members – click to view.

The Financial Secretary
Official members
Deputy Financial Secretary
Deputy Secretary for Justice
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs
Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism
Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury
Secretary for Health
Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry
Secretary for Transport and Logistics
Director-General of Investment Promotion
Director of Information Services
Non-official members
Mr Samir Assaf
Mr Peter Burnett
Mr Ronnie Chan
Professor Tony Chan Fan-cheong
Dr Sunny Chai Ngai-chiu
Dr Adrian Cheng Chi-kong
Ms Mabel Cheung Yuen-ting
Mr Victor Chu Lap-lik
Mr Frederik Gollob
Mr Johannes Hack
Dr Karl Kwok Chi-leung
Dr Peter Lam Kin-ngok
Mr Steve Leung Chi-tien
Mr Li Ruigang
Mr Eric Li
Mr David Liao
Ms Amy Lo Choi-wan
Ms Tammy Tam
Ms Winnie Tam Wan-chi
Dr Eden Woon Yi-teng
Mrs Betty Yuen So Siu-mai
Dr Allan Zeman
Hong Kong Inc. Partner Organisations
Airport Authority Hong Kong
Financial Services Development Council
Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited
Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
Hong Kong Productivity Council
Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation
Hong Kong Tourism Board
Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Insurance Authority
MTR Corporation Limited
University Grants Committee

Task force chair Paul Chan said the city had embraced “positive changes” in recent years. “However, people outside Hong Kong may not be aware of the new opportunities brought by these changes, and some of them might still have negative perceptions of Hong Kong since they might not understand the city’s situation,” he said in the government statement.

He added that the task force – dominated by officials and millionaires – was “diverse.”

The committee is set to “[devise] narratives for the new situation, new potentials and new opportunities in Hong Kong under its new development stage.”

Years of Covid isolation

In early 2020, the city imposed strict measures and travel restrictions to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak. Despite this, Hong Kong has seen the highest per capita death rate in the world, according to Quartz.

Finance chief Paul Chan. Photo: GovHK.

In June 2020, Beijing implemented a national security law which the authorities said brought peace and stability following the 2019 protests and unrest. However, several newspapers and dozens of civil society groups have disbanded or been shut down, whilst opposition voices fled, are behind bars, or have quit politics.

Bloomberg reported that the city’s Covid measures cost the economy US$27 billion (HK$221 billion) in growth, whilst visitor arrivals in December stood at 5 per cent of the 2019 figures according to Tourist Board figures seen by HKFP.

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