22 February 2019

Alibaba’s Jack Ma wants to make Hong Kong a ‘cashless city’

Alibaba founder Jack Ma is said to have spoken of his desire to make Hong Kong a “cashless city” during his meeting with Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who was on a two-day official visit to Hangzhou and Shanghai earlier this week, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Lam had originally planned to return to Hong Kong on Wednesday night but had to stay overnight in Hangzhou because her flight was disrupted by Typhoon Hato.

During her visit, the Hong Kong leader met with Shanghai Party Secretary Han Zheng, Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong and other Zhejiang provincial officials.

Lam was accompanied by Chief Executive’s Office Director Chan Kwok-kee and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Nip Tak-kuen.

Lam said Hong Kong has cooperated closely with entrepreneurs from Shanghai and she hopes those business ties could be strengthened.

She also hoped the next Hong Kong-Shanghai Economic and Trade Cooperation Conference will be held in Hong Kong.

Han said Hong Kong and Shanghai are important cities with roles to play in the Belt and Road initiative as Hong Kong remains an international hub for finance, shipping and trade.

He said Shanghai is pushing forward different infrastructure projects and he hopes to follow Hong Kong’s recipe of success.

Lam also visited Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou and met with founder Jack Ma and CEO Zhang Yong.

Ma said it was regretful that Alibaba was not able to list in Hong Kong and he hoped his company could grab the opportunities to make Hong Kong a “fashionable and cashless city”.

He praised Hong Kong for being a great cosmopolitan city and joked that the sky would be the limit for Alibaba if it could operate like Hong Kong under a “One Country, Two Systems” principle.

In response, Lam said she would like to have Alibaba’s support in boosting Hong Kong’s technology application and innovation efforts.

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