The One Belt One Road initiative continues to garner interest from the world. Shereen Shabnam meets with Oswald Wong, President & CEO of China International Development and Investment Corporation Limited to get more insights.
Oswald Wong, President & CEO of China International Development and Investment Corporation Limited, believes that social stabilization results from psychological satisfaction, a sense of economic security and the availability of price-to-value livelihoods’ related infrastructures.
China has launched the “One Belt One Road Initiative” since Year 2013 and there are various mega infrastructural investment projects that have been entered and being executed by the major Chinese enterprises in over 60 countries across Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The projects have included but not limited to railway, airport, seaport, power station, waste treatment plant, drink water system, telecommunication infrastructure, national housing scheme, petrochemical related developments, etc. Most of them are under public-private-partnership model.
Oswald mentions, “Globalization of Chinese resource is a challenge in itself, especially as each and every country has its own laws, regulations, norm, practice, culture, religion, etc. Purely to duplicate the Chinese model overseas will be tough and adopting the Chinese work experience to implement overseas projects is often seen as a risk”.
During our interview, Oswald loves to use the words “minimum charges” to refer to various preliminary challenges that Chinese enterprises face, that include how to invoice the preliminary cost before awarding the project, raising equity for the project, structuring a bankable exit strategy for the project capital, arranging the bank loan, coordinating with the project related enterprises such as engineering firm, project management company, contractor, sub-contractors, suppliers, etc.
This includes liaison with governmental authorities such as the environment protection department, transportation department, water & electricity department, etc., implementing the Building Information Modeling (BIM) system for construction, understanding the laws and regulations that best fit with the local norm and getting over the cultural and language problems.
All these “minimum charges”, in actual, create obstacles daily to the Chinese participants. So, based on what he has experienced all these years in different countries when cooperating with various Chinese state owned enterprises, he believes this is a unique opportunity for Hong Kong to assimilate to the One Belt One Road initiative. He believes the One Belt One Road initiative is the growth hormone that can make Hong Kong great again.
Oswald tells us, “Hong Kong, being part of China, shall consider its available resources offering to the Chinese community more than just financial service and tourism service. People can go to other cities to shop and to seek financial service. Dubai will be a good competitor to Hong Kong, at least, on providing shopping facilities and environment; while London, New York, Tokyo, Singapore, etc. are good examples of cities which can provide similar financial services as Hong Kong. So, the uniqueness is important.”
Hong Kong has many citizens born in between 1960s to mid-1980s in different sectors including commercial, construction, financial, legal and these group of Hong Kong nationals have enough experience to work with and work for foreign companies. These experts compared to the non-Chinese have similarities in cultural background to other Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, etc. At the same time, they know how to handle the delegated work and manage relationships under the “western system”.
According to Oswald, these groups of Hong Kong nationals are good for the Chinese enterprises to do the pre-contract and post-contract work. Taking an example, most of the Middle East governmental consultancy jobs are undertaken by either local, US, European and Australian firms. The consultancy work affects the upcoming developments in terms of engineering and design, prequalification procedures, contractor selection, subcontractors and suppliers’ selection, etc. Chinese enterprises should have someone that knows how these non-Chinese enterprises run in order to get the projects awarded at the right pricing and right terms and conditions.
Secondly, it is important for Chinese contractors to build up its BIM system for the overseas market. More data is being collected and being analyzed for reference in the future. It is important for the Chinese enterprises to share information and progress. Hong Kong is the best option for the Chinese government on implementing this research ad it has great educational resources, good command English as the International language of business and good experience in contracting.
Oswald reiterates that as long as the Hong Kong government can discuss with the Ministry of Construction of China to be the data collection and analysis center, this will bring thousands of job openings for the young Hong Kong nationals and will have a very clear mindset for them on future job opportunities and career development.
Increasing employment results in better tax revenue and allows the government to contribute more capital towards infrastructure, schools, hospitals, elderly center, etc. More infrastructure results convenience in life and psychological security.
Major job opportunities can be created because of the One Belt One Road initiative, which means Hong Kong nationals, can have stable incomes and good livelihood. With infrastructure being improved and secured, this can make Hong Kong great again.