As Sri Lanka looks to entice foreign investors to encourage FDIs into the country, EY and HSBC collectively hosted a virtual investment forum for Chinese businesses seeking investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.
His excellency Dr. Palitha Kohona, the Sri Lankan Ambassador to China delivering his keynote speech stated Sri Lanka must identify strategic opportunities and market them under the concept of ‘Sri Lanka as an Investment Destination’ not merely as being the pearl of the Indian Ocean. He explained how Sri Lanka’s green credentials could help attract more versatile investors alongside BRI (Belt and Road initiative) and other initiatives such as development of infrastructure.
It was spoken that; China was able to grow its economy from CNY70t. to CNY101t. within just 4 to 5 year. Despite the compounding downfall in many global economies due to the Covid-19 pandemic, China grew its economy by 2.3%. In the very same year China eliminated Poverty 10 years ahead of the UNSDG target. All this excels large opportunities to neighboring countries. Sri Lanka could strategically optimize benefits by means of more exports and attract more investments.
Delivering the opening remarks Eddie Ching, Senior Executive Vice President and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of HSBC China expressed how HSBC has overtime extended support to Chinese investors through its business portfolio and would continue to innovate to meet market needs. HSBC is the 1st bank to dedicate a unit to BRI in Asia and HSBC’s strategic relationship for the BRI council helps them to bring about a wealth of expertise within the domain. Speaking at the Forum Mukhtar Hussain, Group General Manager, Head of BRI & Business Corridors, Asia Pacific of HSBC elaborated more on the importance of BRI initiatives and HSBC role in BRI strategy.
Sanjaya Mohottala, Director General, Board of Investment, Sri Lanka as guest speaker illustrated the macroeconomic update and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. He reiterated that the tax regime will remain consistent for the next five years and that many policy reforms are underway to help improve the easy of doing business in the country. He further said ‘’Sri Lanka’s talent pool is also amongst our credentials proving its quality and ingenuity over decades. Hence, other investment opportunities spanning the development of infrastructure, ICT industries, Agri processing and aquafarming are amongst key strategic investment opportunities”.
Duminda Hulangamuwa, Partner and Head of Tax, EY Sri Lanka & Maldives and Julie Hao, Partner, TAX, EY (China) Advisory Ltd together presented the regulatory, legal and tax framework in Sri Lanka. Commenting on the initiative Duminda stated “the forum was well received by nearly 170 participants which was organized in view of showcasing Sri Lanka as an attractive friendly investment destination. We look forward to organizing similar investor forums with other countries as we move forward”.
Li Xing, Head of Sales and Marketing, CHEC Port City Colombo Pvt Ltd and Tim Xiao, Senior General Manager – Port Investment Services, Legal & Corporate affairs, Hambantota International Port Group/Secretary General, Chinese Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka also joined in conversation sharing their investor success stories. They shared in practical aspects and experience as existing Chinese investors in doing business in Sri Lanka and went on to educate the forum on potential investment opportunities that exists within the respective projects.
First Row, From Left- Eddie Ching, Senior Executive Vice President and Deputy Chief Executive Officer Head of Global Banking, HSBC Bank (China) Company Limited, Mukhtar Hussain, Group General Manager, Head of Belt & Road Initiative and Business Corridors, Asia Pacific HSBC, HE Dr Palitha Kohona, Sri Lankan Ambassador to China, Sanjaya Mohottala, Chairman, The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, Duminda Hulangamuwa, Partner and Head of Tax, Ernst & Young, Sri Lanka & Maldives
Second Row, From Left – Julie Hao, Partner, TAX, EY (China) Advisory Ltd, Li Xing, Head of Sales and Marketing of Port City Colombo and Sales Director in China, Tim Xiao, Senior General Manager, Legal & Corporate Affairs – Port Investment Services, Hambantota International Port Group, Mark Prothero, CEO HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives