Longtime Atlanta resident, banker and GeorgiaChina business advocate Henry Yu will return to Atlanta at the beginning of February.

Though his main purpose will be to visit family and celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, he’ll also be speaking at a Feb. 2 event at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce about financial opportunities in his native city: Hong Kong. (Click here to find out more and register.)

Mr. Yu moved to Shanghai, China, last January to take up a director position at Standard Chartered Bank (China) Ltd.  Before that, he was managing director of global trade solutions for Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks Inc.

He is also a former president of the National Association of Chinese-Americans Atlanta Chapter.

GlobalAtlanta caught up with Mr. Yu by e-mail to talk about opportunities on the Chinese mainland during the financial crisis and how to use Hong Kong as a gateway for business there:

GlobalAtlanta: What will you speak about at the event?

Henry Yu: I will be speaking briefly about China – why companies are still investing in China and on why companies need to consider Hong Kong before tapping into [mainland] China opportunities.  I will be giving examples from Chinese companies and American companies on their investments in Hong Kong – a bridge to global markets and a window to doing business in China.

GlobalAtlanta: Even within this financial crisis, is this a good time to be thinking about investing in the Chinese market? Why?

Henry Yu: Yes, China is affected by the global financial crisis and the recession in the Western world.  But China is expected to grow at respectable GDP rate, 7 percent to 8 percent range in 2009. I think this is the best time to consider China due to:

1. Loosening monetary policies – lowering of lending rate, making available financing to small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them weather the drop in export orders.

2. Expansionary fiscal policies – $580 billion in spending within the next two years on infrastructure projects (roads, waterway, bridges, subways, airport upgrades, etc.) to create employment and domestic consumption, cutting the business tax rate, increasing value-added tax export rebates on certain commodities, etc.

3. Banking sector flooded with liquidity – In the USA, banks are afraid to lend. But in China (particularly since October 2008) banks are starting to lend to SMEs (as encouraged by Central Bank and China Banking Regulatory Commission).

4. Retail sales were strong in December  – 19 percent year-to-year growth, though at slower pace.

Monetary and fiscal policies are already having a strong effect, and China will recover faster than the Western economies.

GlobalAtlanta: What is the biggest benefit Hong Kong provides as a gateway to the mainland China market?

Henry Yu: Profit opportunities in Hong Kong itself plus the connectivity to China (short-term profit generation with excellent medium-term profit potential in a huge Chinese market).

GlobalAtlanta: With its special status, what is Hong Kong’s role in the growing economy of the mainland?

Henry Yu: Hong Kong’s role is that of financial center that Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tianjin can learn from, a training ground for many Chinese executives, a networking place for business and culture, fund raising/access to capital, and Hong Kong’s service-oriented economy plays a key role in China moving up the value chain.

GlobalAtlanta: What types of companies would benefit from coming to the upcoming  event?

Henry Yu: I think companies these days need to reach out to foreign markets to survive and in particular small- to medium-sized enterprises due to the matured nature of U.S. economy. I think the next phase of Chinese economic development (next 30 years) will come from second- and third-tier cities-rise of more SMEs (not state-owned enterprises and large conglomerates) will provide huge opportunities for SMEs from the USA. HK has over 260,000 SMEs and many have manufacturing operations in China (in particular, the Pearl River Delta).

Many industries have opportunities in Hong Kong/China – logistics, pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare, cosmetics, software, leisure, building materials, auto components, service providers, just to name a few!

Click here to register or learn more about the agenda and speakers at the “Hong Kong: Your Partner for Success” event at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 2. 

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...