17th Asian Financial Forum Opens Today, Exploring Multilateral Cooperation for a Shared Tomorrow


·       The 17th AFF, themed Multilateral Cooperation for a Shared Tomorrow, is taking place at the HKCEC for two consecutive days. It is expected to attract over 3,000 finance and business elites, including more than 70 delegations from overseas and Mainland China, boosting the convention and exhibition industry’s contribution to economic growth

·       The opening day of the Forum featured a keynote luncheon speech by Prof Jeffrey D Sachs, President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He discussed how Responsible Capitalism will foster public-private partnerships and promote sustainable development

·       Finance ministers from various countries gathered in the Plenary Session I – Charting the Path to a Shared Future to share how they collaborate in addressing global economic issues within limited fiscal space and resilience. In Plenary Session II – Finance for Sustainability and The Role of Multilateralism, speakers delved into the impact of multilateral cooperation on regional economic development, financial standards and sustainable finance

·       Tomorrow’s Forum promises equal appeal, with a keynote speech by Prof Douglas W Diamond, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences in 2022 and Merton H Miller, Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He will address prospects for multilateralism and modern finance

HONG KONG – (NewMediaWire) – January 24, 2024 – (ACN Newswire) – The 17th Asian Financial Forum 2024 (AFF), co-organised by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), opened today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). With the theme Multilateral Cooperation for a Shared Tomorrow, the two-day Forum serves as the first major financial and business event in the region for 2024. Over 130 finance officials, international financial and multilateral organisations, financial institutions and private-sector leaders from around the world gather in Hong Kong as speakers. They analyse global economic dynamics, promote collaboration among stakeholders, explore sustainable economic development models and identify opportunities for multilateral cooperation.

The Forum is expected to attract over 3,000 finance and business elites, including more than 70 delegations from Mainland China, Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea, the Middle East, Australia, Europe, and the United States. The Forum aims to showcase the vibrancy of Hong Kong and promote the convention and exhibition industry to participants from all over the world as an economic growth driver.

The Opening Session of the Forum featured opening remarks by John Lee, the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, special remarks by Li Yunze, Minister, National Financial Regulatory Administration (NFRA) and welcome remarks by Dr Peter KN Lam, Chairman of the HKTDC. Dr Lam said: “A year post-pandemic, what we all are seeking are opportunities to grow and transform and create a better world for future generations. Opportunities that can only come to fruition as a result of sustained multilateral cooperation. Themed ‘Multilateral Cooperation for a Shared Tomorrow’, the Forum brings together leading policymakers and industry players from the world of finance and business to engage in meaningful, forward-looking conversations and find ways to collaborate for success on today’s most pressing issues.”

The two-day Forum encompasses diverse events, including plenary sessions, policy dialogue, keynote luncheons and business networking opportunities. Through meetings and exhibitions, it delves into global economic outlook, opportunities in China, investment prospects, green finance, financial technology, the ecosystem of family offices, renminbi internationalisation and financial development in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). These hot topics comprehensively showcase Hong Kong’s advantages as an international financial centre.

Diverse speakers from the Middle East and ASEAN for plenary discussions

This year’s Forum focuses on exploring opportunities in Mainland China, the Middle East and ASEAN. One highlight was the Plenary Session I – Charting the Path to a Shared Future, hosted by Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the HKSAR. The session brought together financial officials from around the world to share their countries’ outlook on financial policies for this year. The guest speakers included Ali bin Ahmad Al Kuwari, Minister of Finance of Qatar; Julapun Amornvivat, Deputy Minister of Finance of Thailand; Mohamed Maait, Minister of Finance of Egypt; Suahasil Nazara, Vice Minister of Finance of Indonesia; and Marko Primorac, Minister of Finance of Croatia.

Following that, Eddie Yue, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, hosted a Policy Dialogue session Towards International Economic and Financial Cooperation. The session discussed how to maintain financial system stability amidst changes in monetary policies, fluctuations in commodity prices and frequent extreme weather events. The guest speakers in this session included Burkhard Balz, Member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank; Lkhagvasuren Byadran, Governor of the Central Bank of Mongolia; Thomas Helbling, Deputy Director of the Asia and Pacific Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF); Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the Dubai Financial Services Authority; and Scott Morris, Vice President of the Asian Development Bank. They exchanged valuable insights on issues such as how to respond to global financial crises through multilateral cooperation.

Prof Sachs from the UN analysed responsible capitalism

The Keynote Luncheon on the first day heard welcome remarks by Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR. This was followed by a keynote address from Prof Jeffrey D Sachs, President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The speech explored how Responsible Capitalism could foster public-private partnerships and drive the economy towards sustainable development. Following Prof Sachs’ speech, Ronnie Chan, Chair of Hang Lung Properties Limited, moderated a discussion session.

Financial and business leaders discuss global economy, cooperation opportunities

The afternoon session began with the Panel Discussion on Global Economic Outlook, moderated by Victor Fung, Chairman of Fung Investments. The panel included esteemed speakers such as Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, Chairman of Société Générale; Jenny Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Franklin Templeton; Chartsiri Sophonpanich, President of Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited; and José Viñals, Group Chairman of Standard Chartered plc. They shared insightful perspectives on prospects for the global economy and future policy directions.

The afternoon session continued with Plenary Session II – Finance for Sustainability and The Role of Multilateralism, once again hosted by Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the HKSAR. The panel featured Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser, President of the Islamic Development Bank; Alexandra Jour-Schroeder, Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union at the European Commission; Hala El Said, Minister of Planning and Economic Development of Egypt; and Dilma Rousseff, President of the New Development Bank. They delved into such topics as the impact of nearshoring, rising protectionism and multilateral cooperation on regional economic development, financial standards and sustainable financial development.

Empowering global economic integration by unleashing China’s potential

The Panel Discussion on Stewarding China’s New Chapter debuted this year, aiming to explore the potential of Mainland China’s market and analyse the role and advantages of Hong Kong under strategic initiatives launched by the mainland. The session was moderated by Fan Gang, President of the China Development Institute, and featured prominent figures from the financial and business sectors who are well-versed in Chinese market trends. They shared insights on how businesses worldwide could seize opportunities presented by the rapid development in Mainland China. The guest speakers included Jan Craps, CEO & Co-Chair of Budweiser APAC and APAC CEO AB InBev; Fang Feng-lei, Founder and Chairman of Hopu Investments; Liu Yang, Chairperson and Chief Investment Officer of Atlantis Investment Management; Jung-Ho Rhee, Vice Chairman of Mirae Asset Securities; and Anil Wadhwani, Chief Executive Officer of Prudential plc.

The first day of the Forum also heard the results of a joint market survey by the HKTDC and Knowledge Partner PwC on the financial industry’s views on application of artificial intelligence.  Raymund Chao, Chairman of PwC Asia Pacific and China, pointed out during the Forum that the survey revealed a growing prevalence of AI applications in financial services. Survey findings emphasised the importance for the industry of seizing opportunities and harnessing the developmental potential of AI more effectively.

Thematic sessions discussed topics trending across the world, covering the global economic outlook, impact of sustainability on insurance and capital markets, as well as collaborative opportunities in asset and wealth management. Additionally, Global Spectrum, Dialogues for Tomorrow, and Fireside Chat sessions brought together pioneers from different industries to delve into current hot topics such as next-generation entrepreneurship, cybersecurity, food supply and Islamic finance.

Unlocking investment opportunities with over 400 projects at AFF Deal-making

To facilitate substantial cooperation, the HKTDC and Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (HKVCA) are co-organising AFF Deal-making. This platform enables participants to engage in one-on-one meetings, connecting them with funds and investment projects from around the world. The event focuses on key industries such as financial technology, environment, energy and clean technology, medical technology, deep technology and food and agriculture. This year’s AFF Deal-making has attracted over 200 investors and more than 400 projects. Following conclusion of the Forum tomorrow, participants can use the deal-making online platform for virtual meetings until 30 January (Tuesday) to continue exploring key opportunities in different fields.

Creating business connections through multiple exhibition zones

The Forum continues to feature exhibition zones including Fintech Showcase, Fintech HK Startup Salon, the InnoVenture Salon and Global Investment Zone which bring together over 100 exhibitors, including local and global financial institutions, technology companies, start-ups, investment promotion agencies and sponsors. Participants include knowledge partner PwC, along with HSBC, Bank of China, Standard Chartered Bank, UBS, China International Capital Corporation (CICC), Huatai International and Cyberport.

The Global Investment Zone features participation from countries and regions including Canada, Dubai, Egypt, Finland, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mainland China, Malaysia, Mauritius, Portugal, Spain and the UAE. Investment promotion agencies introduce local investment environments and potential projects on-site. The InnoVenture Salon is dedicated to supporting start-up development and provides a platform for more than 100 start-ups to connect with international investors and potential partners. At the FintechHK Startup Salon 60 enterprises from Hong Kong, Australia, Austria, France, Japan, Korea, the Mainland, Singapore, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam showcase innovative concepts in areas such as AI, blockchain, insurtech, payment technology, regulatory technology and wealthtech.

Momentum continues at key sessions tomorrow

AFF continues tomorrow with rich content, including diverse thematic discussion sessions and workshops that comprehensively analyse trends in capital markets, RMB internationalisation, philanthropy, green smart cities, financial technology, healthcare investments and more. A highlight will be the lunch session where Prof Douglas W Diamond, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences in 2022 and Merton H Miller, Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, will deliver a keynote speech on multilateral cooperation, deconstructing the phenomenon of global geopolitical fragmentation.

A highly anticipated session is the Dialogue with Bob Prince, featuring Mr Prince, Co-Chief Investment Officer of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. He will share his investment insights and views on multilateral cooperation. Another new session, CIO Insights, will also take place tomorrow morning, bringing together chief investment officers from internationally renowned institutions to share their experiences in guiding asset allocation and investment decisions during economic uncertainty. Other featured AFF guests tomorrow include Susan Chan, Senior Managing Director, Head of Asia Pacific, Head of Investments, Asia Pacific of BlackRock; René Buehlmann, Chief Executive Officer, Investments of abrdn plc; Janet Perumal, Senior Managing Director, Wellington Management Company; and Min-Lan Tan, Head of Chief Investment Office APAC of UBS AG.

To allow overseas participants to experience the vibrant colours of Hong Kong and promote the conference and exhibition economy, the organisers have collaborated with several organisations to offer exclusive experiential activities for those visiting Hong Kong, including free admission to the Hong Kong Palace Museum, Hong Kong’s iconic Aqua Luna red-sail junk boat, TramOramic tour, and open-top Big Bus arranged by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. In addition, they can enjoy dining discounts at various restaurants and special offers at local tourist attractions, as well as participate in guided tours.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitionsconferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via research reports and digital news channels. For more information, follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn, and please visit:

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