For discussion FCR(95-96)66
on 3 November 1995


Subhead 700 General other non-recurrent

Members are invited to approve a commitment of $17 million for staging a Hong Kong promotion in the United States in 1996.


Any decline in links between Hong Kong and the United States (US) would be detrimental to Hong Kong’s interests.


2. We propose to stage a major Hong Kong promotion in the US in 1996.


3. The US is Hong Kong’s second principal trading partner after China. In 1994, bilateral trade between the US and Hong Kong reached $361 billion. This represented an average annual growth of 18.1% over the previous ten years.

4. In addition, Hong Kong is the US’s third largest investment target in the Asia-Pacific region. In 1994, US direct investment in Hong Kong was $81 billion. At present, there are over 1 200 US firms in Hong Kong, of which some 180 have set up their Asia-Pacific regional headquarters here. Moreover, 104 factories in Hong Kong are wholly or partly owned by US interests, employing more than 20 500 workers or about 3.6% of our industrial workforce.

5. A major promotion of Hong Kong in the US, conducted jointly with the private sector, will enhance US awareness of business opportunities with Hong Kong and help to increase business and cultural ties between the US and Hong Kong. The promotion will provide an excellent opportunity for us to stress to the US business community, and the public at large, that Hong Kong will retain a discrete economic and commercial identity separate from that of China, as provided for in the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. This will help to raise Hong Kong’s profile as an autonomous trading economy and ease anxiety about Hong Kong’s future after 1997.

6. Given that 1996 will be a presidential and general election year in the US, a promotion conducted in that year would provide an opportunity for us to influence potential new opinion-formers and major US opinion-formers to enlist their support and ensure that they will not act in ways that are detrimental to Hong Kong’s interest. We therefore propose to stage a major promotion in the US in 1996.

Choice of cities and timing

7. With Members’ approval (vide FCR(93-94)140), we launched a major promotion in the US in 1994. In that exercise, we staged major events in three cities in the eastern US, namely New York, Atlanta and Chicago. For the present proposal, we aim to cover a key city in each of the three major exporting states - New York, Texas, California which are respectively in the eastern, central and western parts of the US. We shall devise a business-oriented programme in each of the target cities to promote Hong Kong as a service centre.

8. As regards timing, we consider it best to conduct the promotion in early June 1996. This will provide us with a good opportunity to influence Congressional opinion during the late stages of the annual Most-Favoured Nation trading status round. Moreover, since the presidential election campaign will be in full swing from around July 1996, there would be little point in conducting a promotion between then and the outcome of the election results in November 1996.

Promotion events

9. Based on the experience of our recent successful overseas promotions in Canada (1992), Europe (1993), the USA (1994) and Japan (1995), the core programmes in each of the three main target cities will consist of a business conference, a business luncheon, concurrent break-away workshops, a social event in the form of a gala dinner and/or reception and a cultural event, such as an art exhibition or a film festival. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Hong Kong Tourist Association will organise complementary activities, such as store promotions, fashion shows, seminars on tourism, food and cultural festivals, etc. The Chief Secretary will lead a high-level delegation to the US, comprising prominent figures from the business sector and the Government.

Target audience

10. The main target invitees for the business conferences and workshops will be business leaders, media representatives, politicians, government officials, academics and think-tank personnel. We will target the cultural activities at the general US public and the ex-Hong Kong Chinese communities in the US.


11. The Director of Information Services (DIS) estimates the cost of the proposal to be $17 million, made up as follows -

$ million

(a) Business seminars, luncheons and workshops in three cities


(b) Reception and gala dinners


(c) Cultural performances


(d) Hong Kong Film Festivals/ Exhibitions


(e) Art and painting exhibitions


(f) Passage, accommodation and related expenses for speakers, workshop panellists and delegates


(g) Publicity and promotional expenses (including sponsored journalists, advertisements, design and production fees, programme books, information kits, video production, courier service, etc.)


(h) Hire of event organisers, temporary local staff and office equipment/administrative support in the USA


(i) Passage and subsistence allowance for preparatory trips


(j) Contingency




12. DIS estimates the cashflow as follows -

$ million







13. We will seek sponsorship from the private sector, using the amount raised either to enhance the programme or to reduce the Government’s contribution.

14. The project will require the full-time support of a Chief Information Officer (Master Pay Scale 45 - 49) as Promotion Co-ordinator in the US and a Senior Executive Officer (Master Pay Scale 34 - 44) in Hong Kong, both for eight months from November 1995.

15. If Members approve this proposal, we shall include the necessary provision in the 1996-97 draft Estimates and approve under delegated authority any supplementary provision required in 1995-96, both for this project and the two posts mentioned in paragraph 14 above.


16. A major Hong Kong Festival was organised in Canada in 1992 to correspond with the opening of the Economic and Trade Office in Toronto. Since then, the Information Services Department has co-ordinated overseas promotions in Europe in 1993, in the US (the eastern part) in 1994, and in Japan in 1995. These major promotions have all been very successful. They have helped to establish valuable contacts for future networking, promote business opportunities in Hong Kong, and strengthen the relationship, in terms of economic and cultural exchanges, between Hong Kong and the principal trading partners. In addition, there had been extensive media coverage of these promotions. It has helped to raise the image of Hong Kong in the target countries.

Home Affairs Branch
October 1995

Last Updated on 2 December 1998