Dear CanCham Members,
Happy New Year!
As we embark on the year 2016, I would like to take stock of the progress last year, to outline some of the new initiatives and activities at our Chamber and to thank you, our valued members, for your continued engagement in another excellent year. As a membership organization, our success hinges on your staunch support.
The year 2015 has again been an active one, as we continue to build the Chamber community and create programs with a focus on quality and breadth. The Annual General Meeting of 2015 saw the election of our new Chairman Mr. Lawrence Nutting who continues the excellent leadership work of his predecessor Mr. John Witt.
We held over 100 events in 2015. In February we launched an Innovation and Technology Series, with sponsorship by KPMG, EMC and Velocity Solutions. The topics ranged from “Developments in the Pearl River Delta” to “The Cyber Security Challenge”. This Series went on to achieve great success, and will continue in February 2016 with “China’s Connected Consumers”.
We continued the Leadership Series started last year, with sponsorship by SES Strategic Executive Search. This year, speakers included John Rice, General Electric’s Vice Chairman, as well as Frederick Ma, recently appointed MTRC’s Chairman. We also continued our successful China Series, supported by KPMG, with sessions such as “China’s Fourth Plenum” and “Digital Technology Transforming China’s Leisure & Hospitality Industry”.
Leveraging on the success of the “Seed to Exit Series”, we launched a new series called “Starting, Managing and Marketing a New Business”. To top it off, we held the second annual “TransPacific Entrepreneurial Conference” in partnership with the Hong Kong Canada Business Association (HKCBA) in November at the HKTDC SME Centre. Credit for the above two initiatives goes to Madeleine Behan, co-chair of the Entrepreneur and Small Business Committee and recently elected Governor.
Our major social and community events, including our Annual Ball sponsored by Manulife, Canada D’eh Brunch and Skating Party sponsored by CIHL and Sun Life, Second Annual Canadian Golf Tournament sponsored by Sun Life and others also achieved tremendous success.
Our Chamber’s committees are another cornerstone of strength. Some eighty people serve on our nine focus committees, providing high-quality networking opportunities and addressing business opportunities in their respective sectors. In the last year, we have established a new committee, “The Women’s Network” which has already hosted six events to-date.
We have broken new ground in 2015 in representing Member interests outside of the Chamber. Early in the year, we hosted roundtable meetings with Hong Kong’s civic leaders and Chamber leaders to discuss subjects of interest to our members. Such meetings included Mr. Paul Chan, Secretary for Development, Mr. Eddie Ng, Secretary for Education, and Mr. John Tsang, Financial Secretary. In December we made a Policy Submission to Mr. C.Y. Leung, HKSAR Chief Executive, for his 2016 Policy Address.
To promote awareness of CanCham among Canadian companies looking to expand into Hong Kong and Mainland China and to continue building relationships with like-minded groups we extended our contact beyond Hong Kong. In early June, a small delegation of Chamber leaders attended the HKTDC’s “Think Asia Think Hong Kong” event in Toronto. Elizabeth Thomson, one of our Governors, hosted the panel “Selling to China and throughout Asia”, which highlighted successful strategies used to tap into the Asian market through Hong Kong. In October, a small number of our members attended the Annual Meeting and Policy Conference of Canada China Business Council (CCBC) in Shanghai, as we continued developing our ties with CCBC and HKCBA, the two leading Canadian-based organizations relevant to our mission.
During the fall we hosted a number of visiting government officials from Canada. Visitors included Mr. Jacques Daoust, Quebec’s Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Exports, Mr. Denis Coderre, Montréal Mayor, Ms. Kathleen Wynn, Ontario Premier, Mr. Frank Scarpitti, Markham Mayor, and several others.
The Chamber has also become an important stop for visiting University Presidents from institutions such as the University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, York University and Simon Fraser.
CanCham’s most important strategic relationship continues to be a highly effective partnership with the local Canadian Consulate. We are grateful for the ongoing advice and assistance from Mr. Ian Burchett, Canadian Consul General, as well as Ms. Lynn McDonald, Senior Trade Commissioner, and their teams. We work closely together for the benefit of the local Canadian community. In addition, we continue to collaborate with the local representatives from Canadian provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
We are grateful for the unwavering support of our members and sponsors.. Their support allows us to continue our hard work building a stronger and more vibrant Canadian business community by enhancing business networking and facilitating the creation of business opportunities for our members. We are already the largest Canadian business organization outside of Canada, and one of the most active international chambers in Hong Kong. We will strive to be one of the best!
I would like to wish you and yours a successful and healthy New Year. In the Chinese zodiac, 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. May I also wish you the vigour, flexibility and intelligence associated with that wonderful creature!