Date
21 September 2017
A businessman surnamed Choi says his firm sells products to Southeast Asia. The office in Mong Kok of another 'One Belt, One Road' firm is empty. Photos: i-Cable
A businessman surnamed Choi says his firm sells products to Southeast Asia. The office in Mong Kok of another 'One Belt, One Road' firm is empty. Photos: i-Cable

Most ‘One Belt, One Road’ firms have yet to start business

More than a hundred companies with names related to “One Belt, One Road” have been established since last year, but the majority have yet to start a business.

The Business Registration Office said 120 Hong Kong firms had been established by the end of April with names related to the initiative promoted by President Xi Jinping and which was mentioned more than 40 times in Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s Policy Address in January, i-Cable reported.

Most of these companies were set up over the past year, and 69 of them stated in documents that they have not yet commenced operations.

Among the remainder, some said they are providers of baby and cosmetic products and IT services. 

Investors in some of the “One Belt, One Road” companies include pro-Beijing politicians and industrialists such as Annie Wu Suk-ching, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and Robert Ng Chee-siong, chairman of Sino Group (00247.HK).

An i-Cable team visited a Mong Kok building that is the registered address of five “One Belt, One Road” companies.

The office of one company, founded by two businessmen, from Jilin and Shanxi provinces, with a registered capital of HK$280 million (US$36 million), was empty.

The premises are also registered as an office address by another “One Belt, One Road” firm, founded by a businessman from Liaoning province.

“This trend makes me think of the technology bubble in 2000, when many companies had dotcom and high-tech in their names although they did not have any technology business,” said Simon Lee Siu-po, assistant dean of undergraduate studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s business school.

Lee said the “One Belt, One Road” companies may be waiting for opportunities or are merely a concept at the moment.

A businessman surnamed Choi who founded a supplier of naturopathy products said his firm has a strong connection with “One Belt, One Road”, as it sells products to Southeast Asian countries.

Translation by Chloe Chow 

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