The director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York, Monica Chen, wants Georgia to consider opening a future office in Hong Kong to work with her organization in helping companies access markets in China, she said during the Feb. 16 Georgia International Business Conference.

Ms. Chen was part of a panel of China experts at the conference, who included Henry Yu, managing director of global trade solutions for SunTrust Bank and president of the National Association of Chinese-Americans’ Atlanta Chapter; Nick Qin, president of China Professional Tours Inc. and Chris Young, Georgia’s chief protocol officer. The panel was moderated by Ken Jin, director of the Center for International Training and Services for Continuing Education at Kennesaw State University.

“I hope Georgia will consider a second office for China in Hong Kong,” Ms. Chen said, referring to the state’s plan to open a representative office in Beijing this year.

She said that other U.S. states, including Michigan and New Jersey, have offices in Hong Kong that serve as liaisons that primarily help companies enter Hong Kong or Asian markets. Her colleagues at the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office there assist those state offices in their efforts.

A Georgia office in Hong Kong would further strengthen trade relationships, she added.

“Hong Kong and Atlanta can strengthen their ties. Both are major cargo hubs — Atlanta an air hub and Hong Kong a ship hub,” she told GlobalAtlanta in an interview during the conference.

She cited two direct cargo flights between Atlanta and Hong Kong that started last year, and added that Hong Kong is importing a large number of computers and electronics equipment from Georgia.

Georgia exported a total of $292 million in goods to Hong Kong in 2005, 20 percent of which was computers and electronics, Ms. Chen said.

Hong Kong is also a good place for Georgia companies to invest, she added. U.S. companies are still coming to Hong Kong to get access to China, she said, noting that more than 1,000 American companies have regional headquarters there.

Hong Kong has no value-added tax, and its intellectual property protection regime is renowned, Ms. Chen said. The special administrative region is also within a five-hour flight to most major cities in Asia, and it is a three-hour drive from Hong Kong to mainland China, she said.

Access to China is a perk to having a Georgia office or U.S. company office in Hong Kong, Ms. Chen said. China is Hong Kong’s largest trading partner, and Hong Kong provides 42 percent of China’s total foreign investment, she added. The special administrative region has a “Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement” with China, which is essentially a free trade agreement, she said.

Georgia companies opening offices in Hong Kong are eligible to receive accounting and legal services from the Hong Kong government, Ms. Chen said.

Monica Chen speaking with GlobalAtlanta during the
Georgia International Business Conference

Companies in Hong Kong also benefit from Hong Kong’s progressive logistics infrastructure, she added. A study is currently being done to build a logistics park in Hong Kong that would offer customized and integrated logistics services for cargo vehicles passing through the region, she said.

Hong Kong serviced 23.3 million 20-foot equivalent unit containers through its seaport in 2006. Twenty-eight percent of China’s international trade is routed through Hong Kong by train or boat, Ms. Chen said.

She said that the Chinese government specifically mentioned in its 11th five-year plan for 2006-10 support for Hong Kong in financial services, logistics, tourism and information services to help develop the entire country.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which became part of the People’s Democratic Republic of China after 156 years of British rule.

Hong Kong has U.S. offices in New York, San Francisco and Washington. Its Invest Hong Kong team is “here to help businesses with tailor-made services for logistics, to open an office or find partners in Hong Kong or China,” Ms. Chen said.

Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories

Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office: Monica Chen (212) 752-3320