China Trek 2 | Hong Kong

posted in: 2022 Class posts | 0

Alistair Wye (EMBA 2022) writes the second in a series of posts about the China Trek, a week-long journey through China, organised by members of our EMBA 2022 cohort.

Day 1 | Exploring Hong Kong’s rich tapestry: a journey through culture, law, and networking

Our trek began with the vibrant streets of Hong Kong, where East meets West in a captivating dance of tradition and modernity. As someone who has lived in Hong Kong twice – first as an exchange student at the University of Hong Kong and later working on secondment with a global US law firm – it was fantastic to return to this magnificent city and experience its dynamic evolution.

Hong Kong Palace Museum: a cultural odyssey

Our adventure began at the Hong Kong Palace Museum, a stunning testament to cultural heritage and artistic mastery.

Stepping inside, we were welcomed by the passionate Anyu (one of our trek leaders), who captivated us with insights into each artefact, emphasising, “In every artefact lies a story, a testament to our shared history.”

The exhibits, from delicate ceramics to grand paintings, narrated tales of China’s rich past, leaving us in awe of its enduring allure. Being an artist in my spare time, I particularly enjoyed the wonderful paintings depicting a range of mythical, historical and everyday scenes from China’s past.

Adding to this cultural feast was the view from the museum’s restaurant – a spectacular panorama of Hong Kong’s skyline that provided a serene backdrop for the delicious and delicate dim sum we enjoyed for lunch, a cuisine for which Hong Kong is world famous.

Hong Kong Palace Museum

Jones Day Law Firm: navigating capital markets

Switching gears from culture to commerce, we next delved into the complex world of capital markets at Jones Day Law Firm.

Guided by Charles Chau, a partner at US law firm Jones Day and University of Cambridge alum, we navigated the intricacies of Hong Kong’s financial landscape.

His deep dive into IPOs, mergers, and acquisitions deepened our understanding of the sophisticated mechanisms driving this bustling metropolis as a key financial hub in Asia-Pacific.

Charles’ extensive experience enriched a dynamic Q&A session, where we gained insights into the evolution of Hong Kong’s financial markets and their potential adjustments as integration with the Mainland progresses and regional competition, from countries such as Singapore, intensifies.

As a former leveraged finance lawyer with experience in debt and capital markets in London and Hong Kong, it was fascinating to see how Hong Kong’s financial sector has changed since my stint there in 2012-2013.

Cohort listening to talk by Charles Chau

EMBA alumni drinks and dinner: bridging past and future

As evening fell, we gathered with fellow Cambridge alumni in an exclusive setting that buzzed with energy and anticipation.

The night was filled with the clinking of glasses and lively discussions, creating an atmosphere of warmth and familiarity.

We shared a sumptuous range of traditional Hong Kong meals featuring local specialties, including goose feet! Raising our glasses to new beginnings, we were reminded once more that the true essence of travel isn’t just about the places we visit but also about the connections we make!

EMBA cohort with Cambridge alumni from the Hong Kong chapter

Day 2 | Unveiling Hong Kong’s innovation hub: a day of cryptocurrency, commerce and entrepreneurship

Building on the vivid impressions of our first day in Hong Kong, day 2 of our China Trek plunged us even deeper into the heart of Hong Kong’s dynamic innovative spirit and entrepreneurial drive.

Each experience underscored Hong Kong’s boundless potential for growth and transformation, reinforcing the city’s role as a global leader in both finance and technology.

Day 2 | A deep dive into innovation and entrepreneurship

HashKey Group: decrypting the future of finance

Our exploration began at Exchange Square with a visit to HashKey Group, where we met a team of visionaries at the cutting edge of cryptocurrency and digital assets and heard from Jupiter Zheng, Partner, HashKey Capital and Jessie Huang, Head of Institutional Sales, HashKey Exchange.

As the first and only cryptocurrency exchange currently regulated in Hong Kong, it was fascinating to hear how and why they have succeeded where competitors have stumbled.

Amidst the buzz of an evolving financial landscape, we engaged with the complexities of blockchain technology and decentralised finance and its potential for financial services.

The promise of new regulatory frameworks set the stage for a discussion on the opportunities ahead, highlighting Hong Kong’s strategic position as a beacon of progress in the rapidly changing world of finance.

At HashKey, the only cryptocurrency exchange currently regulated in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Science and Technology Park: nurturing tomorrow’s innovators

After revisiting some of my favourite bustling local lunch spots along Graham Street, a short drive took us to the innovative enclave of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park.

Here, we met with a group of forward-thinkers who showcased their latest advancements in fields from biotech to fintech, all nurtured by HKSTP’s robust programmes. This visit provided a first-hand look at the transformative power of local innovation, inspiring us to consider the endless possibilities of what can be achieved through creativity and ingenuity.

Depiction of celebrity Ba Zi (Chinese astrology)

EMBA alumni dinner: a celebration of entrepreneurial spirit

Our day culminated with a heartfelt gathering of EMBA alumni from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Amidst laughter and good food, we shared stories that spoke of resilience, vision, and the unwavering determination that defines Hong Kong’s entrepreneurial landscape.

Each narrative, from the launch of ground-breaking start-ups to the realisation of lifelong ambitions, was a testament to the persistent entrepreneurial spirit that thrives in this city.

A reflective return

Revisiting Hong Kong was a profound joy, and the enriching experiences of our first two days in China reinforced my already high esteem for the country’s past, present, and future.

In particular, Hong Kong’s evolution since my days as a student and later as a professional was palpable.

Yet, despite the changes, the spirit of Hong Kong – resilient and ever-welcoming – remains a constant, making every return a new discovery. It was a privilege to relive old memories and create new ones in this extraordinary city!

Join us in the next blog as we unravel the threads of innovation woven into the fabric of Hengqin, where the past meets the future, and every moment is ripe with possibility.

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