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CityU, HNA Group partnership boosts Hong Kong industries


Christina Wu

A collaborative agreement in transport, trade and finance was signed on 17 August between City University of Hong Kong (CityU) and the HNA Group, an aviation company in mainland China.

The letter of intent for cooperation and the forum that was held after the signing ceremony make good use of the support stated in the 12th Five-Year Plan and are aimed at enhancing Hong Kong’s position as an international centre for transport, trade and finance.

CityU is fully committed to the development of these three industries in Hong Kong. It has founded both the Hong Kong Centre for Maritime and Transportation Law (HKCMT) and the Centre for Transport, Trade and Financial Studies (CTTFS) at the University in the past two years.

“Backed by mainland China, a robust legal system, bi-literacy and tri-lingualism, and international connections, Hong Kong has the potential for promoting its position as an international centre for transport, trade and finance. As long as the government, industry and universities work together on policy formulation, manpower training and research, Hong Kong should be able to develop this opportunity very well,” said the Hon Leung Chun-ying, Council Chairman of CityU.

The letter of intent signed by Professor Way Kuo, President of CityU, and Mr Zhang Shanghui, Vice Executive President of the HNA Group, signals the development of CTTFS as a leading industry-embraced research and education centre for transport, trade and logistics innovation in the Asia Pacific region.

The collaboration exemplifies today’s advancement in science and demonstrates CityU’s emphasis on professional education,” Professor Kuo said. “The essence of professional education is to teach and learn outside the classrooms and laboratories and study issues related to the world’s problems. With this cooperative agreement, I expect the centre’s research will contribute significantly to Hong Kong, Asia and the world.

In addition, CityU and the HNA Group will establish the Laboratory of Sustainable Transport, Energy and Technology and cooperate in sustainable transport, trade and financial innovations; planning and policy assessment of transport logistics infrastructure; transport-trade financial service innovation; and professional education and training.

To strengthen CityU’s ties with the industry, Mr Leung has appointed Mr Adam Tan Xiangdong, Director of the Board of the HNA Group, on behalf of CityU as the Advisory Co-Chairman of CTTFS. The Chairman of CTTFS is Mr Alan Tung Lieh-sing, Executive Director of Orient Overseas (International) Limited.

Mr Tan said the collaboration will be mutually beneficial because the College of Business, School of Law and other CityU colleges and departments with connections to transport are the best in Asia, and CityU’s cross-disciplinary research related to maritime economy, especially transport, trade and finance services; planning of transport logistics; and supply chain management, matches well with the Group.

As a follow-up to the agreements, Mr Leung, Professor Arthur Ellis, Provost of CityU, Professor Gregory Raupp, Vice-President (Research and Technology) of CityU, and Professor John Liu Jianhua, Director of CTTFS, attended a work meeting.

Additionally, CityU scholars gave talks titled “Sustainable Innovation in Transport and Trade: Maritime and Aviation Sustainability Indexing and Exchange” and “Recent Advances in Financial Innovations and International Finance: Perspective of Hong Kong” at a forum titled “Hong Kong’s Future: Sustainable Innovation of Transport-Trade Finance”. Around 60 members of the HNA Group attended the forum.

HNA Group, with a business portfolio in transportation, tourism, logistics, and finance, is the 4th largest aviation company in China. Having expanded to Hong Kong in recent years, it now owns two Hong Kong-based airline companies, Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express Airways. It has also acquired equity in a local travel agency, Hong Thai Travel Services Limited.