Interview with Alpha Lau, New Director-General of Invest Hong Kong

Alpha Lau was appointed as Invest Hong Kong’s Director-General of Investment Promotion by the HKSAR Government in November 2023. In a recent interview, she shared her vision and strategic plans to promote Hong Kong as a global business hub and attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into the city.

1. Please tell us more about your professional experience and why you decided to join InvestHK.

Given that Hong Kong is an international financial centre, I started my career in banking and FinTech, and have over 20 years of experience in Chinese and international financial institutions. During my career, I helped multinational companies in their expansion into Mainland China and other locations in Asia Pacific. I first encountered InvestHK as a client, where I was impressed with the professionalism and knowledge of the team. I also appreciated the help that InvestHK provided to companies in navigating the regulatory landscape and economic environment in their journey.

Great changes are afoot in the global economy and I strongly believe Hong Kong is well placed to take maximum advantage. We are one of the most dynamic cities in the world. The energy here is nothing short of fantastic, stemming from our entrepreneurial spirit and vibrant business environment. I am proud to call Hong Kong home. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to join the great team at InvestHK, I felt most excited and privileged to be able to let the world know what a great place Hong Kong is.

2. What is your vision for InvestHK and its role in promoting Hong Kong as a global business hub? 

InvestHK has a very strong team in the headquarters, with specialists from major industry sectors. Through our investment promotion units and other trade offices, we also have a presence in 33 major business locations around the world. We are looking to further expand this network in the coming fiscal year. 

By working together closely not only within teams and offices in InvestHK, but also with other government departments and bureaus, and our partners and friends in the business community and the professional world, I have great faith that we will continue to attract and retain FDI, by proactively reaching out to companies who are exploring opportunities in Hong Kong, or using Hong Kong as a regional hub for their Asian offices. 

We will continue to maximise the global visibility of Hong Kong in business communities around the world, highlighting the distinctive advantages we have as the only place in the world where the global advantage and the China advantage come together in the same place.

Through strategic partnerships, innovative initiatives, and compelling stories, we will strengthen Hong Kong’s status as the premier international business location in Asia.

3. What are some of the key factors that you believe set Hong Kong apart from other global business hubs? 

Hong Kong is one of the most competitive economies in the world. Its strategic location, robust legal system, advanced infrastructure and vibrant business environment further enhance its appeal. Hong Kong’s reputation for providing a secure and reliable business setting attracts entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes from across the globe.

We enjoy the distinct advantages of having strong support from the Central Government while enjoying maximum flexibility in connecting with the rest of the world under the “One Country, Two Systems”. Our proactive approach to integrating into our country’s development and strengthening its role in facilitating economic cooperation within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and along the Belt and Road will unlock a world of economic opportunities.

In addition, our resilience and remarkable ability to adapt are key factors to ensure ongoing success. These attributes enable us to stay at the forefront of economic and technological advancements, ensuring our competitiveness in an ever-changing global business landscape. We are proud to see rapid developments in new areas such as life and health technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, data science, FinTech and advanced manufacturing technology, etc.

4. How are you going to tell the Hong Kong story, and what plans do you have in mind to further promote the city’s attractiveness as a destination for FDI?

In line with the Chief Executive’s Policy Address, one of our key focuses is to promote the “headquarters economy” to attract enterprises from outside Hong Kong to establish their headquarters and/or their corporate divisions here. We will also actively attract companies to re-domicile to Hong Kong, particularly those with a business focus in the Asia-Pacific region.

Our customised, one-on-one client management approach will continue to play a crucial role. We will conduct targeted PR and marketing campaigns, organise and sponsor impactful events in our priority markets, and strengthen collaboration with consulates, chambers, and key industry stakeholders.

We will closely collaborate with Hong Kong’s Economic and Trade Offices in the Mainland and around the world. InvestHK has dedicated teams in 17 of these offices, as well as overseas consultants in 16 key locations, to attract talent and enterprises.

5. What message would you like to convey to potential investors and businesses seeking to establish a presence in Hong Kong? How can InvestHK assist them?

If you are seeking to establish a presence in Asia, Hong Kong is the perfect location to be your base. We offer a highly attractive and conducive environment for growth and success. InvestHK is here to assist you every step of the way. We provide tailored support and guidance, helping you navigate the business landscape, connect with key stakeholders, understand local regulations and tax incentives and subsidies, and access useful resources and networks. Our expertise in the local market, coupled with our extensive global reach, enables us to facilitate your smooth entry and expansion into Hong Kong and from there to the rest of the continent. We attach great importance to providing aftercare support to the enterprises already here, whether or not we have previously assisted them, to help them grow.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? 

Hong Kong is best known as a great place to do business and a shopper’s paradise. There is, however, so much more to Hong Kong. It is a compact, skyscraper-packed city infused with glamour and energy that also juts up against green open space that is dotted with hiking trails, swimming beaches, and subtropical flora. It is a juxtaposition that is wonderfully refreshing.

In my free time, I like to explore Hong Kong’s many hiking trails, where breath-taking scenery and greenery is only 30 minutes away from the bustling city centre. Hong Kong also has the beautiful Victoria Harbour, an extensive rural coastline, geopark, and many beaches, bays and island. I take full advantage of this and love coastal rowing — I am a rower, coxswain, National Umpire and qualified coach.

In the evening, I like to enjoy Hong Kong’s unmatched food scene and legendary nightlife, as Hong Kong has the highest concentration of delicious eateries in the world, from local dim sum and street stalls to Michelin-starred restaurants. When the occasion arises, I jam on the saxophone, play the piano and drums with friends.

Being so well located in Asia, Hong Kong is only a few hours from most destinations in Asia Pacific, so I travel extensively and easily for holidays. I truly enjoy the best of Hong Kong, and hope that when businesses are considering their investments, they remember that Hong Kong is also one of the best places to live in the world.

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