Digital Economy Summit
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Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong Talk Technology Integrations at Digital Economy Summit 2023

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) participated with other global leaders to find ways to supercharge economic growth and a smart future at the Digital Economy Summit 2023

Asia’s flagship innovation and technology event, the Digital Economy Summit (DES) 2023, took place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) on April 13 to 14, 2023.

Jointly by the HKSAR Government and Cyberport, the two-day summit held in a hybrid format gathered the world’s influential leaders in technology, business, academia, and government, to explore the significance of technological innovations in boosting economic growth and accelerating the formation of resilient and futureproof digital societies.

UAE-China relations

Gabrielle Inzirillo, head of ecosystem development, at the financial services regulatory authority at ADGM gave a keynote speech at the summit highlighting strong relations between the UAE and China across projects.

In her speech, she said: “The UAE has become the world’s testbed for emerging technologies, and China has been at the forefront of innovation. With a special focus on the development of smart cities, the robust infrastructure of both countries would enable strong economic growth in the coming years.

“Technology is a key enabler for growth across sectors today, but it comes with some risks such as data protection, security and privacy, that’s why the wise leadership of the UAE has initiatives in place that are focused on upskilling employees, a path to build a knowledge-based economy,” continued Inzirillo.

Commenting on the smart city projects, Inzirillo added: “Masdar is one of the best examples of smart city projects. The city has large-scale renewable energy projects, vertical gardens, carbon neutral and it’s a car-free city.”

A new chapter begins

DES 2023 aims to inspire regional and global visions for a better digital future. More than 100 international speakers shared their insights over the two days in eight specialist forums anchored around the central theme ‘Emerging with Resilience: Fostering a Smarter Future’.

John Lee, chief executive of the HKSAR; Professor Sun Dong, secretary for innovation, technology and industry of the HKSAR Government; Shumin Cao, deputy director of Cyberspace Administration of China and Dong Chen, deputy minister, The Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, officiated the opening ceremony.

“Our country’s key strategies of the National 14th Five-Year Plan and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development support Hong Kong’s development into an international innovation and technology (I&T) centre,” said Lee.

“We are now poised to start a new chapter of digital economy development through our persistent pursuit of I&T advancement. To echo the theme of today’s Summit, we must embrace the sweeping changes brought about by the digital revolution, in order to emerge stronger than ever in a smarter future,” he continued.

“As the only city in the world where the global advantages and the China advantage converge, Hong Kong will continue to be the ideal base for Mainland enterprises to develop their global reach and a launchpad for foreign companies to gain access to the Mainland Chinese market. It is our top priority to ensure that business and investment prospects in Hong Kong will continue to flourish in the years to come.”

John Lee, chief executive of the HKSAR
John Lee, chief executive of the HKSAR
Innovation development

Adding to this, Dong said: “To achieve high-quality economic development, digitalisation is an inevitable trend. On this journey of transformation, I&T is one of the key driving forces. The wider adoption of I&T could revitalise traditional industries, spawn new businesses, foster a diversified economy and create quality employment opportunities in Hong Kong.

“This term of Government has accorded high priority to I&T development with promoting digital economy development and developing Hong Kong into a smart city as one of the key directions,” Dong continued. “We will continue to roll out more initiatives in spearheading the development of our digital economy and smart city.”

Simon Chan, chairman of Cyberport, said, “The pandemic has accelerated global digital adoption and unleashed a wave of transformation that will continue to reshape people’s lives, smart city development, and industries in the years ahead. DES 2023 creates a platform for leading thinkers and decision-makers from government, business, and academia to come together and explore the exciting possibilities the future may hold.”

Technologies shaping the future

On day one, DES 2023 offered attendees numerous opportunities to envision how digital innovations are defining the new post-pandemic normal and helping to create more sustainable societies and more competitive businesses.

The Visionary Forum was a highly anticipated highlight of DES 2023, where global industry experts spoke about the impact and potential of various technologies under the theme “Re-create Future Sustainable Societies”.

The audience heard from leaders covering a vast range of topics, including digital government development, the provision of new immersive viewing experiences enabled by cloud-based systems at international sports events, low-carbon development and smart urban transformation driven by digital innovation, as well as the latest developments in autonomous driving technology.

In the afternoon sessions, experts and attendees took an in-depth look at the application of technology in the digital economy. The Chambers Forum, supported by six major chambers of commerce, addressed how enterprises are integrating traditional and new economy to drive business transformation and stay ahead of the curve, while the Smart City Forum organised by Smart City Consortium focused on how Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area (GBA) are leading the way in developing and driving smart city developments.

The stage featured high-level representatives from tech giants such as Microsoft, Panasonic, SenseTime, Tencent Cloud and Dmall, as well as speakers from organisations in Finland, France, Singapore and the GBA. Concurrent with these events, Huawei’s Digital Government Symposium identified and discussed the key elements of e-government and discuss how they are being implemented in the Greater Bay Area and overseas.

Experience the smart future

In addition to specialist forums, an experience zone has been set up to showcase the latest technology solutions from Cyberport community start-ups, partners, and more, giving attendees the opportunity to experience technology solutions first-hand.

Applications revolve around the digital economy, smart city, smart mobility, and new industrialisation, which are aligned with the main directions of the Hong Kong I&T Development Blueprint. The showcased solutions span the essential smart living domains of medical, food, living, mobility, and many other aspects. Participating companies include smart retail solution provider Dmall and healthtech start-up Gense Technologies, which offers affordable portable medical imaging devices, smart mobile farm developer Farmacy, and many more.

Additionally, the second day of DES 2023 featured four specialist forums of substantial impact on the future of digital economy, namely FinTech Forum, Beyond Web3 Forum, Smart Mobility Forum and New Industrialisation Forum.


  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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