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Asian and British Business Leaders Talk Future Innovation Prior to GREAT Festival of Innovation 2018

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(Wednesday, 22 November 2017) A panel of top Asian and UK business leaders and innovators came together to announce the launch of the GREAT Festival of Innovation 2018 in Hong Kong on Monday.

The GREAT Festival of Innovation, to be held at Asia Society Hong Kong Centre from 21 to 24 March 2018, is part of the UK Government’s globally-recognised GREAT Britain campaign. The Festival will see some of the world’s brightest minds come together to explore how innovation will impact our future lives.

The event was attended by over one hundred of Asia and the UK’s top industry figures, policy decision makers and businesses. Renowned British physicist Professor Brian Cox was joined by Head of Growth and Innovation for HSBC Vivek Ramachandran, Founder and Managing Principal of Gaw Capital Partners Goodwin Gaw and Co-founder of Origami Labs and inventor of the world’s first voice-powered smart ring ORII Kevin Wong. The panel discussed the importance of investment in innovation and shared their insights into the technology that is revolutionising the way we will live, work, play and learn in the future.

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The UK’s Department of International Trade will be welcoming the UK and Asia region’s top industry leaders, entrepreneurs, creatives, educationalists and businesses who will be joining the four-day Festival. Distinguished speakers include WPP Chief Executive Sir Martin Sorrell, award-winning interior designer Kelly Hoppen, dot-com pioneer Brent Hoberman, historian and journalist Tristram Hunt, Shui On Group Chairman Vincent Lo, Hang Lung Group Chairman Ronnie Chan and Li & Fung Chairman Victor Fung among many others.

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The Festival comes as recent figures show that the UK goods exports to Hong Kong increased by 5.8% last year to a total value of GBP6.3 billion, making Hong Kong the UK’s 12th largest market for goods. Total trade between the UK and Hong Kong was GBP17.2 billion in 2016, nearly a 5% per cent increase from 2015.

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, said:
“The UK is a global centre for technology and innovation, attracting more investment than any other European country. As an international economic department, we will build on this success. The GREAT Festival of Innovation will promote the UK’s unique technological abilities, and create fantastic new opportunities for British businesses to sell their products and expertise to the world.”

British Consul-General of Hong Kong and Macao, Andrew Heyn OBE, said:
“The Festival comes at a historic moment for the UK, Hong Kong and Asian economies. It will provide a platform for connecting minds, creating new partnerships and strengthening relationships between British and Asian innovators and international business leaders and investors. Our goal is to build life-long partnerships and champion a future of free trade.”

Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, said:
“I am glad to note that our multifaceted exchange with the UK will be given further impetus, with the UK Government set to launch the GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong next March, showcasing what the UK can offer in terms of trade, professional services, innovation and creative industries. I am sure that the campaign will bring us even closer in all respects.”

Representative from the Festival’s Principal Partner HSBC, Head of Commercial Banking Hong Kong, Terence Chiu, said:
“HSBC is proud to support the Great Festival of Innovation.  Digital and innovation are important catalysts for Hong Kong’s economy.  As an international financial hub, Hong Kong connects mainland China with global markets, making it ideal for start-ups and established companies that want to develop new digital business models.  The city is leveraging its financial expertise, resources and infrastructure to form an ecosystem that combines entrepreneurs, capital and access to opportunities across China. We have supported business in Hong Kong for 152 years and are excited to be working with the next generation of companies as they renew our economy for the future.”

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