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29 SEP 2022

Great success: Hong Kong Annual Conference

The Annual Hong Kong Conference not only delivered great presentations on the latest topics but the opportunity for speakers and members to share their thoughts, insights, and enthusiasm for the event. LinkedIn provided a popular platform for speakers (including a government official), institutions and organisations to share their involvement or interest in the event. There were nearly 100 posts including video and written interviews, programme sharing and thought-provoking discussions around topics being discussed at the conference. This created a great deal of hype online prior and post the event, which provided a great tool for members and the industry to engage in meaningful and prevalent topics that were also on the agenda.

Despite initially hoping that the conference could be face to face, it had to be moved to a digital conference due to highly restrictive COVID rules. Nevertheless, the two-half day conference still brought in over 360 registrations and viewing live numbers remained consistently around 200, with the highest session at nearly 280, which was on investment trends and the metaverse.

The conference also attracted a great deal of interest in sponsorship, with over 13 sponsors and 38 supporting organisations confirmed. It was clear that many significant organisations and institutions were keen to be associated with the conference.

Other key topics included, the new Government administration and its impact to the profession, an update on macro-economics and the implications on the construction and real estate market then there was a combined session on the latest investment trends and the metaverse, before closing on Day one with the RICS Red Book and how ESG initiatives affect asset values.

Day two opened with a session on sustainability and reaching carbon neutral goals before delving into construction by exploring emerging technology and then the latest on MiC, which questioned whether Hong Kong was on track or at a crossroads. The conference concluded with a positive note by looking to the next generation of surveyors to share their achievements and how they are adapting to a constantly evolving industry.

KEY LEARNINGS

The conference was excellently chaired by Francis Lo, Senior Manager at Swire Properties and had a significant task in welcoming speakers and facilitating the Q&A, however she also demonstrated her knowledge for the industry and raised her own significant questions and insights on particular topics.

Although her involvement was intense, she shared how much she enjoyed and valued, “being able to gain a front row seat and pick the brains of industry leaders on the latest and most impactful topics.”

Francis also shared her top five takeaways:

1)  To address HK’s housing issues:

  • shorten statutory procedures, avoid repetitive procedures;
  • explore transferring approvals to the private sector
  • public/private collaboration for innovation;
  • use MiC; and
  • lower threshold of compulsory sale (while balancing minority stake holders’ interest)

2)  In a world of hyperinflation, real estate remains a particularly good hedge. Sectors that are hot are: hotels, co-living, industrial (76% REITS). Trend of REITS JV with local players in the fool-proof urban residential sector (e.g. SC Capital/Lofter).

3)  While buying land in the metaverse is more of a PR tool today with some platforms only getting <2000 daily users, most companies will likely be in the metaverse in <10 years’ time. Companies need to have both their management and tech teams together to pivot to this new web3 reality, but be mindful, your future audience is 8-25 years old today. 

4)  Latest construction technologies are green technologies. These incl. EcoBricks that celebrates true circulatory and infinite combinations of Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) that reduces waste/ energy / water in its life cycle. There are also new advancements on digital carbon tools, ESG dataset architecture and framework of considering EG scoring when analysing tenants’ covenant strength. Per Michelle Mak We must also make ESG equitable to all to #leavenobusinessesbehind.

5)  Finally, the future is bright! Not only will the size of our market and GDP increase given an unprecedented no. of construction projects, but there are also ample opportunities in the GBA. Over the 2 days, from our opening to closing remarks, our speakers echoed the common theme of partnership, that true impact can only be achieved together. Per Michele Lui we must also remember that there is #fasttrackbutnoshortcut.

Francis successfully captured the key messages from the conference, but another prevalent theme was the acknowledgement that, ‘we have to change’, which was echoed by the speakers in the MiC session. This conference clearly demonstrated that the surveying community and professionals from the built environment strive to achieve national goals and be recognised on a global level.

Read about The 2022 RICS Awards – Hong Kong