Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (front row, fourth right) poses for a photo with other guests at the second Asia Summit on Global Health in Hong Kong, Nov 10, 2022. Standing, from front row, third left, are: Chairman of the Elderly Commission Donald Li Kwok-tung, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council Margaret Fong Shun-man, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Yin Zonghua, Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau, and other guests. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

Hong Kong will chart a new course in local healthcare development, especially in medical technologies, talents and primary healthcare, as part of its vision to create a healthier city and make a greater contribution to the nation’s overall healthcare development, officials told the second Asia Summit on Global Health on Thursday.

Sharing insights on the global healthcare industry’s prospects and key dimensions for deeper collaboration, business and academic leaders said they hope the city can serve as a major hub to foster international healthcare cooperation.

Sharing insights on the global healthcare industry’s prospects and key dimensions for deeper collaboration, business and academic leaders said they hope Hong Kong can serve as a major hub to foster international healthcare cooperation

The two-day event on Thursday and Friday, with the theme of “Charting a New Course in Healthcare through Collaboration”, is one of the grand international events the city has hosted since late Septembers when it scrapped mandatory quarantine for inbound passengers.

The event has attracted about 21,000 business and academic leaders, investors, startups, policymakers and many healthcare heavyweights, including Zsuzsanna Jakab, deputy director-general of the World Health Organization, and Cao Xuetao, deputy director of the National Health Commission.

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Delivering a keynote speech at the opening session, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said the HKSAR government is set to reform the public medical system and publish a blueprint for developing district-level healthcare services by the end of this year to provide more comprehensive and sustainable healthcare services for members of the community.

Other key directions of healthcare development include ramping up efforts to attract leading medical overseas enterprises and professionals to the city, and investing additional resources to support local biotech research and development as well as medical education, Lee said.

Since July, the HKSAR government has made substantive progress in lifting COVID-19 restrictions while containing the number of confirmed cases, he said, adding that as a result, several flagship events, including the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit and the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament, were successfully held.

The HKSAR government will continue to work on specific and dedicated plans to ensure major events and economic activities can be held smoothly, to bring the world of business back to Hong Kong quickly and safely, Lee said.

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In a video speech, Cao acknowledged Hong Kong’s healthcare achievements in the past 25 years, adding that recent adjustments to COVID measures have enabled the city to resume the connection with the rest of the world while maintaining contact with the Chinese mainland.

He said the National Health Commission will offer all necessary technical support for Hong Kong to reconnect with other places. He said he hopes Hong Kong and the mainland continue to strike a balance between pandemic control and economic development, and strengthen protection for people’s lives and their health.

Speaking at a panel discussion, Lo Chung-mau, secretary for health of the Hong Kong SAR, noted that the SAR government will build a healthy Hong Kong in line with the national Healthy China initiative, with a view to making a greater contribution to the integration of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as well as the overall healthcare development of the country. 

Discussion sessions on Thursday’s agenda focused on global health collaboration directions, China’s healthcare development, and the Greater Bay Area’s significance to the global healthcare industry. Friday’s discussions will delve into biotechnology’s prospects and medical robots, and application opportunities for artificial intelligence.

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The summit also offers an exhibition area for companies and investors in which over 180 global innovative technology enterprises, research institutions and business incubators are displaying their medical technology products and services.