i've been in hong kong for 48 years, and macao.
i had my first office in changsha, hunan 35 years ago, when china, 35 years ago, was not the china that we know as of today.
for me, it's like living... in a living history book, watching the changes that took place in china.
当年邓小平到深圳视察，站在田地里时，我也在那里。他说，“ 这里将变成经济特区 ”。我心想，“这个人知不知道自己在说什么” 。
i was in shenzhen when deng xiaoping was there, in those fields. and he said, "this is gonna be a special economic zone." and i thought, "i don't know if this guy knows what he's talking about."
visionary but... he was more right than right when we see shenzhen today.
as in shanghai, when zhu rongji... with zhu rongji actually, looking across pudong from puxi side, and he was saying this is gonna be a financial area of shanghai, the main financial area of shanghai.
and again, i thought to myself, "what's he talking about? it's all fields."
but yet, the proof is in the pudding.
china has moved at such a pace today which is unbelievable... for 30 or 40 years that we've seen china move, compared to anything in the west or in the european markets. i just... it's mind-blowing to me.
and again, my story is very simple. i grew up in montreal in canada. my dad died when i was 7 years old. at 10 years old, i was delivering newspapers.
12 years old, i was working in a restaurant, it's a steak house to cleaning tables on weekends while i was going to school. and i was earning about 60 us dollars a week. my teachers were only earning 35 dollars a week.
兰桂坊集团主席盛智文(allan zeman)在第九期“新时代大讲堂”发表演讲。 中国日报记者 吴家耀/摄
兰桂坊集团主席盛智文(allan zeman)在第九期“新时代大讲堂”发表演讲。 中国日报记者 吴家耀/摄
and at the age of 19, i decided to do my own business. i came to hong kong to import lady sweaters into north america. at that time hong kong was the factory of the world. i saw the potential in hong kong.
at the end of my first year in business... importing lady sweaters into north america, i made a million us dollars profit at 19.
and so i saw hong kong change from the factory of the world at that time to really become the service center of the world. factories moved into chinese mainland. entrepreneurs moved into chinese mainland. and i gave you this vision. and then i opened up my trading company in hong kong when i moved there.
i lived in a city of 2 million people. hong kong had 7 million people. 7.5 million today.
and i looked at the greater bay area, you know governments are the ones that have the vision. but it's really the people that make the place. for the greater bay area to be successful, it's the people that will have to make it successful.
and when you look at it, you're talking about one hour radius, one to one and half hour radius. i joke a lot with the press because...i have businesses in shenzhen. from hong kong to shenzhen, i take the high speed rail. it takes 14 minutes.
and... i look at the potential of the greater bay area. you're talking about 70 million people with a gdp last year of 1.5 trillion us dollars.
by 2030, if things develop in the way we think it will be, you'll probably be talking about... they're talking about 80 million people with a gdp of 3.5 trillion us dollars, the area and the size are bigger than south korea.
so the potential for young people living in macao and hong kong, are mind-boggling.
i used to come to macao all the time when it was... a small charming little portuguese city. and we used to come here... to have dinner or go to fernando's on the beach and have dinners and just experience a different culture. very laid-back, very different.
and then things started to change in macao. i watched the university of macao get built up from nothing, in a place called hengqin island. hengqin island is just across the tunnel now, same as kowloon side and hong kong island.
and macao government is now talking about it. they're looking at their vision and they have four ideas.
it being number one. and of course being so close to shenzhen as some of the speakers have talked about.
shenzhen to me, is number one in the world. i know silicon valley and people still talk about silicon valley, but i spent a lot of time in shenzhen. and i've spent time in silicon valley.
and i'm close to huawei. i'm close to tencent. i'm close to all these companies that developed from nothing. i watched them start as small little companies. and the companies that they've built are mind-boggling.
the future is ai and 5g. 5g is on steroids at the moment, moving so quickly. that's gonna change everybody's life. many, many different things that we don't even think about.
downloading films on your handy phone used to take an hour or two hours. you can do it in four seconds now.
everything's gonna change. macao and hong kong need to step up, need to develop it for young people, so young people can literally work together.
the other thing that the government is talking about is chinese medicine, becoming a center for chinese medicine. great idea, especially with ai.
i also sit on the board of sanatorium & hospital in hong kong. and so i'm quite familiar with the medical field. but that's also something that's really important cause the hybrid between chinese medicine and western medicine is where the future is. and especially with ai, it's also... medicine is moving so quickly.
and so these opportunities are for young people... are mind-boggling. this is the place to be.
and so what i say is that the next thing the government is talking about is tourism and culture. so macao itself will become... known also as a center for culture, for art, not only gaming.
tourism, of course, we get 36 to 38 million tourists a year now, in a place of 600,000 people. nowhere in the world does that exist. but the potential will continue to get stronger and stronger.
if you look for young people, look at cirque du soleil. started as street performers in quebec city, and young people got together and to make it into an international... now an international tour group. it goes around the world. they made it famous.
and then you have not just the areas like different tour... new york ...people go to new york because of broadway. with the gaming industry here, you have the potential to bring in shows, to make macao and hengqin island into one of the show capitals of china. that's something that's so waiting to be explored.
all opportunities are for young people. it's the future, the future of macao.
because of the way everything ties up, macao, hengqin island, zhuhai, a triangle. and of course, connected by a bridge to hong kong. so you have some of the strengths, the financial.
the government's also talking about because they have such a strong reserves today here, because of the gaming industry, also some forms of fintech, financial services.
these things present the best opportunities for young people in many many many years that i can see as an entrepreneur.
because of the proximity, guangzhou, the manufacturing base, with it. shenzhen, number one in the world. in the next five or ten years, china will lead the world not in a negative way in technology.
i as a young man, saw the vision of coming half way across the world to this part of the world. and made this my home. i see the next strength is the greater bay area, because every business person from around the world will want to be part of it.
everything is because... the success of hong kong-macao is "one country, two systems". because being attached to 1.4 billion people gives us all the ability to make it happen.
i always have a say, "i look at things not for what they are. i look at things for what they could be."
and this will be one of the most, the strongest... will be as far as i'm concerned, the strongest bay area in the world between the four bay areas. so continue to invest here. have your future here. and study hard. and accept technology cause that is the future.
and so thank you very, very much.