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Hong Kong remains fascinating place to businesses: CEO of CLP Holdings

2021-07-23 09:59

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HONG KONG, July 23 (Xinhua) -- "If somebody was to ask me where they wanted to set up an office in Asia, I would say Hong Kong," Richard Lancaster, chief executive officer of Hong Kong-based power company CLP Holdings, said.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, the power industry veteran from Australia told his story of pursuing dreams in the Asian commercial hub and elaborated on why Hong Kong has for decades remained attractive to businesses and investors from around the world.

At the core of Hong Kong's charm is the mix of East and West, he said. "It has been so fascinating to be positioned right in the middle of Asia. That is really Hong Kong's strength, its ability to interact with the rest of the world, and being part of China."

"It's such a dynamic and exciting place," Lancaster said.

With a strong rule of law, businesses have all the protections in Hong Kong and can operate with confidence, and its sophisticated financial and legal services also enable companies to deal easily with businesses in the rest of the world, Lancaster said.

"Everything that you need to run your business successfully is right here in Hong Kong," he said.

Earlier in his career, Lancaster worked in the electricity industry in Australia and joined CLP in 1992. After nearly 30 years, Lancaster said seeking a career in Hong Kong is one of the best decisions of his life. "I jumped at the opportunity in 1992. Frankly, I fell in love with Hong Kong. It's been my home ever since then."

Despite uncertainty and instability in Hong Kong over the past few years, Lancaster remains a staunch believer of the global financial hub.

"If you look back over the years, Hong Kong has just gone from strength to strength. There's been some ups and downs. We've seen financial crises, global pandemics, a period of social unrest, but each time Hong Kong comes out stronger," he said.

"Now we have a period of stability, I think we are well-positioned to go from strength to greater prosperity here."

As Hong Kong is speeding up its low carbon drive with ambitious plans to cut greenhouse carbon emissions, Lancaster believes that as Hong Kong's largest power supplier, CLP will play a crucial role in building a greener and more sustainable future for the global financial hub.

"Over the last 20 years, we have invested in technology in our plants and moved towards cleaner fuels. We now have a much more diverse fuel mix with nuclear power, some renewable energy, natural gas and coal," he said.

Lancaster vowed efforts to decarbonize Hong Kong's electricity industry in the next 30 years. "Once we do that, then electricity will be carbon-free and able to be used in other sectors such as the transportation sector."

Hong Kong aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The share of coal-fired electricity generation was down from about 59 percent in 2014 to about 44 percent in 2019, and about 24 percent in 2020.
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