On the evening of Thursday 8 February 2024, the China-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ChinaLux) held a Chinese New Year reception to mark the Year of the Dragon at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg-Kirchberg.
The evening included speeches by Carlo Thelen, Director General of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, Ning Hua, Chinese Ambassador to Luxembourg, and Shirley Yung, Special Representative of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Union.
After a three-year interruption, the ChinaLux celebrations could once again happen, thanks to partners and in a newly renovated conference room, the organisers noted.
Director General Carlo Thelen held the opening speech. He emphasised that this gathering is a moment to “celebrate and strengthen bonds that connect our diverse community” but also a good time to “set ambitious goals for the years ahead”. He added that Luxembourg embraces international trade with all four corners of the world. Moreover, he stated that a recent shared achievement was a direct flight from Luxembourg to China, together with Cargolux. He also discussed plans for an upcoming seminar in September 2024, to be organised before an official trade mission in October 2024. Like the other speakers, he discussed the significance of the Year of the Dragon, notably emphasising it is associated with success and “destined for great achievement”. Considered an auspicious time for marriage, birth or starting a business – the dragon stands for new avenues for growth.
Ambassador Hua Ning discussed how he noticed an increase in the number of members for the day’s celebration. He added that the spring festival is a time to “reflect on the work of the past year and prepare new goals”. He stressed that China’s GDP grew by 5.2% over one year in 2023, and that international trade grew by a small percentage. He emphasised China’s resilience in the face of current global crises. "We remain the major engine for global recovery and growth," he said, discussing the country’s capacity in technology, including AI, cloud computing and renewable energy. He also emphasised that China now has plans to go “deeper into low carbon development”. Furthermore, he noted that the first Chinese insurance company and automobile group will enter the Luxembourg market soon.
Special Representative Shirley Yung discussed the advantages and presented features of Hong Kong as a “bustling financial hub,” very small and international, akin to Luxembourg. She noted that green finance is well developed in Hong Kong – the city is Asia’s green finance hub, with a total amount of green and sustainable debt arranged or issued in Hong Kong exceeding $80 billion. This represents a more than 40% increase in 2023 compared to the previous year, and green bond issuance accounted for about one-third of the market share in Asia. She also invited guests to visit Hong Kong, noting that 40% of its lands are scenic, protected areas and wetlands. The city also boasts cultural festivals, galleries, palace museums and numerous “mega events” such as the Asian Financial Forum, Business of Design Week (BODW) and the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival. She concluded by saying that the number of visitors to the city reached 34 million last year, back to pre-pandemic levels.
ChinaLux President, Zhujun Xie, made the closing remarks for the evening, wishing that everyone present would “draw inspiration from the mighty dragon, which symbolises strength, vitality, power and wisdom.” She added that last year, ChinaLux celebrated its tenth anniversary, and made a toast.
The speeches were followed by a networking reception with Luxembourgish wine and crémant, and both European and Chinese finger food.