GREAT Festival of Innovation


The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong is proud to have been a supporting partner for the GREAT Festival of Innovation by hosting a number of satellite events alongside the main conference itself. The GREAT festival is the UK government’s single largest international event that took place this year and brought with it a number of key industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders who shared valuable insight on the future of business.

Below is an overview of all our events. Click here to see photos from the events.



Distinguished Speaker Breakfast with Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Charles Bowman

Wednesday 21 March, 8:00am - 9:15am | Victoria Suite, The Hong Kong Club, 1 Jackson Road, Central


Kicking off the GREAT Festival of Innovation, The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong hosted its first Satellite Event on Wednesday 21 March, with Charles Bowman, Lord Mayor of City of London Corporation. The Lord Mayor explained that he had 5 key objectives during this trip to Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai & Beijing:

1.    To reassure and confirm London will continue to be a global hub for financial and professional services

2.    To enhance City of London-China and City of London-Hong Kong ties, especially in relation to green finance and the Belt and Road

3.    To further develop the relationship between the UK and China

4.    To promote London as an innovative, forward-looking city

5.    To boost two-way investment between the UK and Hong Kong and the UK and China.

The Lord Mayor hopes to see more collaboration between the City and Hong Kong working on mutually beneficial FinTech projects and that these successful partnerships will transform the financial & professional services sectors for years to come.


Distinguished Speaker Luncheon with Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP

Thursday 22 March, 12:45pm - 2:15pm | Salons, Mezzanine, Grand Hyatt, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai

Image result for martin sorrell

It was a pleasure to have Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, speak at our lunch event on Thursday 22 March. With operations spanning over 113 countries and as an international businessman representing how to take your business internationally, his insight and advice was invaluable.

Industries have been struggling with common challenges such as low growth, cheap money, and digital disruption. Now, more than ever, we need to be aware of our competition. Amazon recently surpassed Google in terms of market capital - the race is on for the first trillion dollar company.

The Belt & Road initiative has encouraged a profound shift in the way China brands itself. Investment in innovation branding, a recent focus on outbound investment, and an increasingly active role in international relations have contributed to a transformation in people’s perception of China - now recognised as a global competitor with a growing reputation for entrepreneurship and innovation. Efforts to continuously champion business partnerships, both locally and internationally, are key to business success. The GREAT Festival of Innovation is an excellent example of this by encouraging a forward thinking outlook.

A special thanks to PwC for supporting this event.


Tradition and Innovation: Fortnum & Mason’s 300 Year Legacy

Thursday 22 March, 7:00pm - 9:00pm | Jamie's Italian, 2/F Soundwill Plaza II, 1 Tang Lung St, Causeway Bay

On the 2nd day of the GREAT Festival of Innovation, we were very excited to host Ewan Venters, CEO of Fortnum & Mason for dinner and a fireside chat at Jamie’s Italian, moderated by the Chair of the Chamber's Luxury & Retail Committee, Paul Redmayne-Mourad.

Ewan spoke about the key factors in keeping the Fortnum & Mason brand relevant over the past 300 years. An important point Ewan stressed was that the business model needed to be kept fluid to stay competitive - exploring new pop-up store opportunities, keeping the website and e-commerce model up-to-date, and constantly bringing people closer to the brand through various creative marketing campaigns. 

When discussing how the brand has managed to stay relevant in today's fast-moving digital age, Ewan discussed the importance of authenticity when communicating and engaging with his customers; using social media as "the new shop floor" for reaching out to the Fortnum & Mason community. 

Ewan also touched on upcoming plans for Fortnum & Mason to continue to grow and become a "more confident, more international" brand, with specific targets to expand its e-commerce sales.


Captains of Industry Breakfast with Alex Cruz, Chairman & CEO of British Airways

Friday 23 March, 8:00am - 9:30am | Island Ballroom, Island Shangri-La, Pacific Place, Supreme Ct Rd, Admiralty

Alex Cruz, CEO and Chairman of British Airways, joined us on Friday 23 March for our distinguished speakers breakfast, sponsored by KPMG China, to discuss the importance of innovation and technology in the aviation industry and how this is redefining the way people will travel.

“As a consumer brand we are challenged every day to live up to our customers’ expectations”. Disruption is forcing British Airways to constantly adapt and modernise its products. It’s responding to fast-evolving technologies and is providing creative solutions to offer the best travel experience possible. With a heavy focus on digitalising, travellers can expect high quality on board Wi-Fi and biometric boarding gates to enhance and speed up the boarding process in the future.

Cruz said, “To continue the legacy of being a disruptor in the industry, we will continue to invest in research and development to transform the airline with innovations and technology and would work even more closely with partners to unlock opportunities that will turn British Airways into a smarter, leaner and faster airline."